OTA Origin Story: Part Two

            As is true for most adults between 20 and 24, I possessed a probably irrational level of self-confidence, especially in regards to the idea of starting a program that would serve queer young people. For the culminating project of my minor in LGBT studies in my senior year, I put together a twenty-some page document outlining the importance of a queer outdoor program, as well as the resources it would take to get the programming going. Armed with this document, and the desire to live elsewhere, I relocated to Seattle in early 2013 to start laying the foundational framework for OTA as a non-profit. Again, thinking this whole thing would be a snap...

            Throughout the next two years I worked with law students from the University of Washington's Entrepreneurial Law Clinic as we assembled all of the necessary documents and forms to complete the non-profit process at both the state and federal levels. I utilized my position as manager in a youth social services agency to network and develop my skills training my co-workers on queer inclusivity. I also drew upon my connections in the outdoor industry to plant the seed of the idea with as many people and companies as I could.

            In February of 2014 the Form 1023 for the application of non-profit status was submitted to the IRS. That September when I returned from a season of kayak guiding in Alaska a letter from the IRS was waiting. 

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