Rippleffect is a non-profit youth and community development organization operating outdoor adventure programming out of Portland, Maine. We own Cow Island, a beautiful 26-acre island in Casco Bay, and run many of our youth and adult programs from this remote eco-campus. Serving over 3,500 youth and adults each year, we are leaders in outdoor adventure and experiential education in the Northeast region.

We believe that hands-on education in outdoor classrooms is fundamental to the healthy development of citizens and communities. Our students build confidence, develop critical leadership skills, strengthen relationships, and grow their appreciation for the outdoors through exploration of Cow Island, the waters of Casco Bay, and the wilderness of New England.

Our mission is to promote youth development and leadership through adventure, healthy communities and living sustainably.


Rippleffect envisions a Maine community where youth and adults are engaged in their community, healthy in mind, body, and spirit, and sensitive to diversity in their social and natural environment.

Rippleffect strives to connect students to the world around them and to see the natural world underlying even the most urban of environments. We aim to help participants share the insights gleaned during programs and transfer their learning broadly to create a healthy, interdependent community in Maine. We believe that a community that is aware of and committed to addressing local social and environmental needs will be a place that thrives.


Rippleffect was born in late May of 1999 when a team of six set out from Lubec, Maine on a kayak journey to memorialize the lives of several people who had died of AIDS. They were all personal friends of founder Ted Regan, who organized the expedition as both homage to his friends and mentors, and as a way to educate youth about the disease. The team’s message was clear; “Make a choice between acceptable vs. unacceptable risk in your daily lives.” The journey ended on December 31, 1999, when Regan and Aaron Frederick, the two remaining paddlers from the original group, pulled into Key West, Florida; having journeyed 2700 miles and having reached out to 2300 youth in ports along the Eastern USA seaboard.

Inspired by the relationships formed with youth on the journey, Rippleffect returned to Maine and revised its mission. Rippleffect became a community-based youth development organization specializing in adventure and wilderness experiences that build confidence and self-esteem.  Rippleffect, with incredible support from the local community and from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, purchased Cow Island in 2001 and now serves over 3,500 local adults and youth each year.


Rippleffect is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization, and our success is reliant on support from individuals, organizations, foundations and program revenue.

Our youth program offerings include summer day and overnight camps, teen wilderness expeditions, school vacation camps, school and community programs, and youth leadership programs.

Our adult program offerings include corporate teambuilding retreats, lobster bakes, and family programs. We also host weddings on Cow Island.

Our adventure-based learning model is fun and active, utilizing tools such as sea kayaks, challenge course elements, and environmental education curriculum to achieve program outcomes. Our experiential programs teach youth healthy living skills that facilitate the growth of mind, body, and spirit.

We offer our customized leadership development curriculum for all youth participants, incorporating experience-based activities that focus on the three core skills of leadership—conflict resolution, small group problem solving and communication.

We serve over 3500 youth and adults each year. Over 55% of our youth participants received some sort of scholarship assistance in order to attend a Rippleffect program.

We believe that hands-on education in outdoor classrooms is fundamental to the healthy development of citizens and communities. By exploring Cow Island and paddling the waters of Casco Bay, students build confidence, make new friends and enjoy the outdoors.

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Business Address: 159 State Street

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