Club Guidelines

Please read the following guidelines in full before submitting an application. For further questions, please refer to the FAQ below.

Please be advised that the application window for the 2023-2024 academic has now closed. If you have missed the application window, or if your school is unsuccessful in securing funding this first year, we will be reopening the application at a later date for the 2024-2025 academic year. 

The following organizations are eligible to apply for a Trailblazer Outdoor Club:

  • High Schools and Early Colleges (Public, Private, Charter)
  • Residential Facilities (e.g., Children’s Homes)
  • 501-c3 businesses/organizations (501-c3 businesses/organizations must have goals that align with the Commission’s mission AND/OR have the capability to adopt the Commission’s brand/mission.

Any school employee may apply for a club but it is strongly advised that the expected club advisor complete the application. 

Be advised that Trailblazer Outdoor Club grants do NOT fund sports activities and sports equipment (except shooting sports and horseback riding) or maintenance and upkeep of outdoor structures (trails, classrooms, etc.) If in doubt, you may reach out to us for clarification on whether certain activities are permissible to pursue with the club funds. 

The club advisor(s) (leading faculty) will be responsible for:

  • Scheduling meetings

  • Planning field trips and purchasing club equipment

  • Grant expense reporting and club self-reviews

The club advisor(s) must work with staff to submit a mutually agreed upon Trailblazer Outdoor Club Work Plan at the beginning of each semester. 

Work Plans must be signed and dated by both the club advisor and the administrator/principal.

If funds have already been awarded, recipients must not spend grant funds until the change has been approved by the Commission. 

If the club advisor leaves the recipient school, the school must confirm this change with the Commission and detail which teacher will be taking over as club advisor. In this instance, recipient schools must not spend grant funds until the change has been approved by the Commission.

Grant funds will be sent directly to the school system.

Shipping costs must not exceed more than 5% of the total amount requested.

Grant funds must not be spent on items that were not approved by the Commission in the original Work Plan. If a grant recipient spends grant funds improperly, the Commission will require the recipient to return all improperly spent funds.

Grant funds must be expended by the recipient within the 2023-2024 school year. Should a recipient need to adjust this timeframe, the club advisor must request approval from the Commission.

Trailblazer Outdoor Club purchases must be reported by the end of each semester. The recipient must submit receipts to the Commission showing that grant funds have been used appropriately. The recipient must submit TWO documents showing proof of purchase that show grant funds have been used appropriately. The Commission cannot accept invoices, order forms, quotes, or email correspondence as proof of purchase. We require receipts, check stubs, and/or account transaction statements as proof of purchase. The Commission is not responsible for contacting businesses, organizations, or central school offices for said proof of purchase. 

At the end of each semester the recipient school must submit photos of the club activities to

  • What are Trailblazer Outdoor Clubs? A new program initiative to provide high schools the opportunity, structure, and funding to create a student club focused on outdoor activities.
  • What activities can the club pursue? Any outdoor activity which is in line with the N.C. Youth Outdoor Engagement Commission’s supported activities e.g. hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountaineering, caving, camping, mountain biking, wildlife watching, fishing, archery, and hunting. Check out the sample curriculum above for ideas on what the academic school year could look like for your club!
  • What activities are not funded? Sports, indoor activities, or activities that use electronics. 
  • How much funding is available? Currently that is to be determined but our goal is to provide selected high schools with exclusive access to grant funds via a quick and simple application process. 
  •  Is there a minimum number of meetings/outings the club has to have? Yes! We encourage clubs to have at least two meetups per month, one could be an informal group discussion, the other an outing.
  • Who leads the club? A faculty member will coordinate the club and participating students are encouraged to form their own student leadership.
  • How do I apply for consideration? Easy! Scroll up to the big orange button and click “Club Application”.

Still have questions?

Contact: Noel Griffin, Outreach and Engagement Manager |