Wildwood Outdoor Education Center, Inc.
7095 W. 399th Street
LaCygne KS 66040
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 757-4500
Fax 913- 757-2624
Mission Statement
We bring kids outside to learn and grow together, transforming summer into a season of learning, youth development, and outdoor adventure for low-income Kansas City area youth.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Robyn Ratcliff
Board Chair Mr. David Powell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Colt Energy
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1979
Former Names
Volunteer Opportunities
Do you have Volunteer Opportunities? Yes
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Kansas City's low-income youth need access to summer learning opportunities. Donors like you get kids to Wildwood for outdoor learning adventures! You provide the opportunity to learn and grow outdoors together. You can donate here or at our website, or you can mail a check to:
Wildwood Outdoor Education Center
7095 399th St.
La Cygne, KS 66040
We love volunteers at Wildwood! Youth mentors, event volunteers, and property improvement helpers keep Wildwood running smoothly and work as role models for our campers. Volunteer projects are available for individuals or groups. Contact jane@wildwoodctr.org for more information.  
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement We bring kids outside to learn and grow together, transforming summer into a season of learning, youth development, and outdoor adventure for low-income Kansas City area youth.
Background Statement
Wildwood Outdoor Education Center, located on 399th Street, just south of Louisburg, KS, was originally owned and operated by Bob Allen and Marjorie Powell Allen who called the camp Allendale by Jingo. In 1980, Marjorie Powell Allen, Beth Smith, Jeanne Bates from the Hall Family Foundation, and school district personnel put together the plan to create Wildwood Outdoor Education Center. The Powell family donated the Allendale property to the new non-profit Wildwood, and the Hall Family Foundation provided initial funding via a five-year decreasing grant.
Today, many of the ideas that started Wildwood—that outdoor learning is unique and impactful—that urban children need access to enriching opportunities—that summer learning can change kids’ lives—remain deeply embedded in our thinking and our program design. During the summers, Wildwood offers multiple sessions of residential summer camp experiences, connecting with low-income families through community partners in the Kansas City region. Our campers are supported through funds generously donated by foundations, corporations and individuals. Camper families pay a portion of the camp fee—usually $25 (or more if they are able) so all parents contribute to their child’s camp opportunity.
Wildwood’s experiential methods use nature as the classroom and, especially for many of Kansas City’s low-income youth, it is the first, and often only opportunity to escape the concrete and hardships of the city each summer.
Impact Statement
  • In 2018, we piloted a MakerSpace program, and in 2019, the build was completed on a permanent MakerSpace. We hired a certified elementary teacher to lead our Makerspace program and integrated STEM programming. Campers create bio-inspired designs to reinforce classroom engineering lessons, foster teamwork, and improve camper attitudes about STEM. 
  • In 2017, we added a reading program to our summer sessions. We added reading activities to six popular camp activities, including archery and fishing, to increase summer reading, and we sent every child home with a book of their choice. Campers have exceeded every reading goal we set for them!
  • Wildwood served over 4,000 youth in 2018 and hosted 8,059 “camper days” (participants x days of stay). 80% of campers were low-income or facing economic hardships that created a barrier to fee-based summer learning, and 20% were youth in foster care. Because of the generous charitable contributions of our supporters and partnerships with schools and agencies operating in the urban core areas of the metro, Wildwood has provided summer learning experiences in science and social development for kids who need it the most.
  • New partnerships expanded Wildwood’s impact and identified mutually beneficial services offered to and received from partnerships.
  • Wildwood completed a $532,857 capital campaign in 2018 to improve camp facilities, expand program opportunities and improve learning environments for our campers. We have completed five important projects funded through this campaign.
  • Wildwood staff designed and implemented adjustments to programming and evaluation methods to ensure consistent outcomes for each camper. Results were used to improve program design, increase program quality, and improve staff training throughout the busy summer season. 
  • Wildwood is committed to providing the best academic enrichment and hands-on learning to our campers, and to retain campers through continued engagement.
  • Wildwood strives to increase revenue from diverse sources—summer program fees, property rentals, year-round program fees, donations, fundraising events, etc. In 2018, all revenue streams increased over the prior year.
  • Elevate the Wildwood brand to amplify awareness of Wildwood's contributions to the education of KC youth. 
Needs Statement
  • Scholarship Funding--Wildwood serves 500 youth each summer, 80% of whom require financial assistance to attend. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, every kid who wants to can attend Wildwood summer camp, regardless of their ability to pay. This requires $200,000 of annual support.
  • Partnerships--Connect Wildwood with a school, community center or church. We value the services of other youth organizations and institutions in our community and aim to work together to provide our youth with the best foundation upon which they can grow.
  • Gifts in Kind--We are currently seeking support in marketing, advertising and PR as well as skilled labor like electricians, concrete work, interior/exterior painting, etc. 
  • Volunteers--Various projects available including data entry, basic facility maintenance, guest camp counselor presentations and more. We are also always interested in meeting potential new board members! 
Service Categories
Elementary & Secondary Schools
Youth Development Programs
Environmental Education
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Executive Director:
Wildwood gives all children who attend an opportunity to learn new things and to grow and learn in a healthy, supportive camp environment. For many, it is their only trip out of the city all year. For all, it is a break from technology and an opportunity to thrive, build independence, and see the world differently.
Wildwood transforms summer into a season of learning, youth development, and outdoor adventure for low-income Kansas City kids. We are perfectly poised to help schools and organizations build 21st century readiness for students.  Outdoor learning is proven to help build independence, teamwork and problem solving skills.  Our participants gain an affinity for nature and interest in exploration key to environmental literacy.  Kids feel more connected and build supportive relationships in the Wildwood environment.
Board Chair 
During the summers, Wildwood combines a traditional summer sleep-away camp experience with innovative programs to prevent summer learning loss including reading and STEM activities. Programming provides experiences in three key learning areas: overcoming challenges, applying science and building community. Each of the sessions serve youth through various community partners in the Kansas City region including schools, community centers and social service agencies. The majority of youth served through summer camps are from the Kansas City urban core. These programs are largely supported through scholarship funds generously donated by foundations, corporations and individuals of the Kansas City community.
Program Budget $300,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Summer School
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed No
Short-Term Success
Within Wildwood's three learning experiences, targeted short-term outcomes include: 
Overcoming Challenges:
  • Increased independence
  • Improved teamwork skills
  • Problem-solving confidence
Applying Science:
  • Increased affinity for nature
  • Increased interest in exploration
Building Community: 
  • Feelings of connectedness to peers and adults
  • Increased friendship skills
  • Improved family citizenship 
Long-Term Success
Wildwood uses the "Community Framework for Youth Development" and the American Camp Association's "Youth Outcomes Battery" to identify and assess long-term impact. Each key learning experience has a defined long-term goal:
  • Overcoming Challenges: Participants achieve economic self-sufficiency.
  • Applying Science; Participants gain environmental literacy through knowledge of natural systems and processes and attitudes of appreciation and concern for the environment.
  • Building Community: Participants and their home communities benefit from healthy family and social relationships and increased community involvement.  
Program Success Monitored By
Post-program surveys provide data from campers as they conclude their summer camp experience. Outcomes have been matched to metric tools based on research by Youth Development Strategies, Inc. and the American Camp Association. 
Wildwood also values feedback from community partners and camper parents through the administration of a post-program survey, two-weeks following the return of their campers from Wildwood. As feedback from campers, camper parents and community partners is collected and analyzed by Wildwood's permanent staff, outcomes are evaluated and successes determined.  Analysis of this data will guide future improvements to curricular structure or curriculum.
Examples of Program Success
Community partnerships have proven mutually beneficial to Wildwood and its collaborators. Schools, community centers and social service agencies serve as a viable connection to the targeted youth in urban core communities. These partnerships encourage the involvement of community leaders and parents in the education and well-being of the their children, thereby strengthening the human infrastructure of various communities. 
Dr. Tamara Burns, Chief Academic Officer at Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology in Kansas City, MO, states:
"The difference in our students after summer camp at Wildwood is obvious. I have seen boys and girls who did not like science and were not scientific thinkers get excited about STEM and talk about possible STEM careers. The hands-on learning at camp in the summer will improve their overall academic success which is why I am a supporter of Wildwood. Together were are educating and inspiring them to academic and personal success" 
Wildwood offers a meaningful escape from the brick and mortar for educators and student alike. Take a break from the books and dry-erase boards to engage students in hands-on exploration of the natural world. Bring life into lessons of science, engineering and mathematics. Enhance the overall performance of students through promotion of positive social skills and team-building. Wildwood's state of the art ropes courses introduce problem-solving and team-building in a fun and effective way.
Open to all schools, churches and youth groups, Wildwood will customize a 1-5 day outdoor education program to include activities within three learning experiences: overcoming challenges, applying science and building community. Meal plans and lodging options are available
Program Budget $125,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Partnerships in Education
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short-Term Success
Similar to Summer Adventure, Outdoor School students gain benefits within Wildwood's three learning experiences. However, as a class, students experience learning together and can immediately apply skills upon return to school.
  • Overcoming challenges: Boost independence through building of self-confidence. Develop teamwork skills. Improve and learn how to apply problem solving skills. 
  • Applying science: Increase interest in exploration and affinity for nature.
  • Building community: Improve relationships with peers and adults. Understand concepts of positive citizenship and contributing to a healthy community.
Long-Term Success Wildwood is an experience that strengthens the foundation of education for youth. Students gain skills that lead to economic self-sufficiency, affinity for nature and the environment, improved relationships and community involvement.     
Program Success Monitored By
  • Repeat Bookings: Despite continued challenges within school budgets, schools and parents work together to ensure their kids get the Wildwood experience to enhance their regular school year education.
  • Experience and satisfaction feedback from schools and educators is a valuable mechanism for success evaluation. 
Examples of Program Success Prairie Elementary, in Shawnee Mission, still upholds a 41-year tradition of bringing their 5th grade classes to Wildwood for Outdoor School. The school administration and parents collaborate in fundraising efforts to ensure their children continue to have the experience.
Wildwood's beautiful natural landscape and quality amenities make it a great venue for events of all kinds. The facilities are available for weddings, corporate retreats or family reunions. No matter the occasion, Wildwood's peaceful environment enhances the occasion for guests and make it an event to remember. Fees paid to Wildwood for facility use go right back into the organization to support outdoor education for low-income youth in our region. Various reservations packages are available that range from tent camping or single-building rental to exclusive property access, including staff and programming. 
Program Budget $41,276.00
Category Recreation & Sports, General/Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Facilities
Population Served General/Unspecified, Adults
Short-Term Success Facility use groups experience the same outcomes targeted in other Wildwood programs. For example, just as students benefit from team building activities, corporate groups and families also gain team-building skills, improved self-confidence and relationships. 
Long-Term Success
Facility use participants, similar to Wildwood's other campers, are expected to develop an affinity for the natural world and connectedness to peers.
Long-term success for Wildwood's Facility Use program is illustrated by an expanded client base and repeat bookings. These reservations generate revenue to cover direct expenses and help subsidize year-round costs of the organization. 
Program Success Monitored By Client feedback is the best indicator of success for facility use. Simple satisfaction surveys and repeat reservations provide guidance for Wildwood leadership to make necessary changes to programs and policies as required. 
Examples of Program Success Repeat reservations are important to the organization since they ensure long-term financial sustainability. As a revenue generating programs, income from facility use supports year-round operation expenses for Wildwood. 
CEO Comments Our primary purpose is to provide meaningful summer overnight camps to boost the education and youth development of local kids. We are also honored to be the choice of many local schools for our challenge course programs, STEM and outdoor adventure field trips. Our facility use and rentals program provides essential earned income. In 2018, we have a new partnership to host two annual music festivals. This revenue helps offset the expenses of our facility upkeep. We have an entrepreneurial approach to our earned income streams which free up more of our resources for serving low-income youth. 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Robyn Ratcliff
Term Start Aug 2014
Experience Robyn joined the Wildwood team in August 2014 after 15 years serving the Girl Scouts, most recently as the Vice President of Mission Delivery. Robyn has more than 20 years of leadership experience in youth and outdoor education, fundraising, and property management. She completed the Nonprofit Connect Executive Director Institute program in 2015. Her innovative style, strategic approach, financial savvy and business acumen will boost growth and enable Wildwood to thrive.
Former CEOs
Mrs. Robin Cooper-CornejoJune 2001 - Aug 2014
Mr. Jose CornejoJune 2001 - Aug 2014
Senior Staff
Title Director, Camp Operations
Experience/Biography Laura Jernigan has been a camp director for the last 8 years. She has worked at camps in Washington, Alaska, Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas for Girl Scouts and for Camp Fire USA. She is an accreditation visitor and on the Local Council of Leaders for the American Camping Association's Great Rivers Section. She has also attended several national and regional camping conferences over the last 5 years. She is from Seattle, WA and attended Whitworth University.
Paid Full-Time Staff 5
Paid Contractors 3
Volunteers 35
Retention Rate 75%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 6
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 27
Hispanic/Latino 2
Other 4
Other (Please Specify) multiple races
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 27
Male 16
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Bi-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Partnerships are crucial in the recruitment and registration of Wildwood campers. Schools and community centers not only serve as a viable connection to the targeted youth in urban-core communities, but can also share in the responsibilities of maximizing benefits to youth to camp. Parents and other community leaders work together to contribute to the education and well-being of their children, thereby strengthening the human infrastructure of various communities.

Current partner organizations include:
  • Rosedale Development Association
  • Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City
  • CASA of Jackson County
  • Migrant Farm Worker Assistance Fund
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Bethel Neighborhood Center
  • Learning Club of KCK, USD 500
  • KVC Health Systems
  • KidsTLC
American Camp Association - Member2001
External Assessment and Accreditations
American Camping Association (ACA) - Accreditation2019
Safety First AwardMarkel Insurance2006
Safety First AwardMarkel Insurance2005
Safety First AwardMarkel Insurance2004
Safety First AwardMarkel Insurance2003
Safety First AwardMarkel Insurance2002
Finalist for Favorite Sleep-Away CampKC Parent Magazine2008
Fish Award for Innovative ProgrammingAmerican Camp Association2017
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
CEO Comments We welcome your interest in Wildwood--either as a venue for your event or as an educational opportunity for youth in your program. If you'd like to tour the site and see the program in action, please contact me. I'd be happy to show you around!
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. David Powell
Company Affiliation Colt Energy
Term Jan 2018 to Dec 2020
Email dhpowell@coltenergyinc.com
Board Members
Ms. Lisa BarberHallmark Cards, Inc.
Ms. Paula CornwellHealth Forward Foundation
Mrs. Susan DeCourseyMartin Leigh
Mr. Justin DreierJohn Deere Pricing and Incentives
Mr. David FordWalter P. Moore
Mrs. Linda FreemanMarksNelson CPAs
Mrs. Jessica GarderBurns and McDonnell
Mr. Greg HaflichCallahan Creek
Ms. Kate HoodGirl Scouts of NE KS and NW MO
Mr. Konsta MyrickKC Fire Department
Mr. Mark O'HaraHOK
Mr. David PowellColt Energy
Mr. Bob SpakePolsinelli
Mr. Ryan WesthoffDentons US LLP
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 40%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
CEO Comments Our board of directors is excellent--devoted, talented and generous. They care deeply about Wildwood's success and the impact we make in the lives of children. Many of our board members were Wildwood campers in their youth.
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $730,700
Projected Expenses $727,077
Endowment Value $120,000
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990. 
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line items may include contributions from individuals. 
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$8,756$4,441$5,935
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$0$0
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$54,833$33,099$33,939
Revenue In-Kind----$7,519
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$495,927$456,275$359,859
Administration Expense$143,322$157,260$227,096
Fundraising Expense$15,000$0$0
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.041.100.88
Program Expense/Total Expenses76%74%61%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,148,835$1,123,059$1,061,750
Current Assets$131,491$111,578$30,373
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,785$4,968$3,829
Total Net Assets$1,147,050$1,118,091$1,057,921
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities73.6622.467.93
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountHall Family Foundation $52,000Sunderland Foundation $100,000 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountKauffman Foundation $47,650Hall Family Foundation $47,000 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountCamp for Kids $40,865Skillbuilders Fund $40,000 --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Campaign Purpose The purpose of the 2020 Capital Campaign will be continued property improvements and updates. We will also construct a new cabin to increase camp capacity. 
Dates Jan 2020 to Dec 2020
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Organization Comments
We are delighted to have completed our capital campaign, Kids Grow Better Outside, in April of 2018. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we completed 5 important projects during 2018 to improve our facilities, expand programming, and improve infrastructure. 
Other Documents
Wildwood Accomplishments2018View
Annual Report2016View
Annual Report2015View
Annual Report2014View
WildWord Summer 20142014View
WildWord Fall 20142014View
Organization Name Wildwood Outdoor Education Center, Inc.
Address 7095 W. 399th Street
LaCygne, KS 66040
Primary Phone (913) 757-4500
Contact Email Robyn@wildwoodctr.org
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Robyn Ratcliff
Board Chair Mr. David Powell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Colt Energy
Year of Incorporation 1979
Former Names