High school students spending a week at Outdoor school


Northwest Outdoor Science School

Permission to use photo was given by Chad Stewart.

Gabrielle Chambers, Editor-in-Chief

Outdoor School consists of 5th and 6th graders spending up to a week outdoors learning about science. Many kids in Oregon are given the phenomenal opportunity of Outdoor School.  A crucial factor that makes it all possible for these preteens to have this are high school and college counselors who volunteer a week of their time to help.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chad Stewart, the program’s facilitator, vouches for amazing Outdoor School. “The activities are hands-on and interactive and are designed to make learning so much fun that many students don’t even realize how much they’re learning.  The learning and living environment at Outdoor School is very different from the normal daily routine of a high school student’s life, and many student leaders (and sixth-graders) thrive at outdoor school in ways that they never have been able to experience before.” It makes learning both easier and more fun for the sixth graders and the volunteers teaching them.


The organization that makes it all happen  is Northwest Outdoor Science School. They have four possible locations available that consists of two beach sites (Magruder and Westwind) and two forest sites (Cedar Ridge and Trickle Creek). Currently, the spring session is happening up until the end of May.


Their mission is to provide hands-on experience and career exposure to science that influences kids in a positive way. In addition to this, they strive for community bonding amongst the students through constant collaboration with each other.  Creating an atmosphere perfect for learning about nature is what Northwest Outdoor School is all about.


Northwest Outdoor Science School is constantly looking for volunteers. Stewart strives to recruit people. “Student leaders gain valuable training and experience in positive leadership skills, teamwork, communication, problem solving, effective teaching techniques and child management, and a greater understanding of the natural world upon which we as humans depend for our survival.  These skills and knowledge serve student leaders throughout their lives as students and, eventually, as part of the working world. Secondly, being a student leader is a lot of fun!”


Being a high school counselor is a very rewarding experience. Now the idea of not having your phone on you all the time and being away from home for a whole week may seem intimidating at first. And the fact that you aren’t able to shower as often as you like sounds devastating. Perhaps not snacking on numerous occasions may seem  initially inconvenient . But as soon as you ease into it, you become caught up in other things. You begin to connect with other counselors and kids. Before you know it, you’re barely focusing on the things you thought you couldn’t live without.


   Carlos Ramirez is a Junior from Century High School who has volunteered as a counselor two times. He wanted to do it because he personally had a memorable time going to outdoor school as a 6th grader. “It’s fun being able to teach kids about the outdoors and watch them have fun learning about the outdoors.”  Ramirez strived to provide the same experience he had.


Another possibility student leaders are given is the chance to meet new people and connect with them. “[Something I enjoyed was] meeting new people who enjoy Outdoor School as much as you do.” Initially, the other student leaders start off as strangers, but by the end of the week, you share an abundance of memories together.


YC senior, Morgan DeHaven, is a former outdoor counselor who had an enjoyable time. “I love the experience of working for others, the teamwork that goes into in, and the feeling of being unplugged.” It’s an overall rewarding experience that you get. This opportunity is available for most YC students (sophomores and older.)


If you want to have this experience, it’s as easy as going to a simple training session near you and the rest will unravel from there. For more information, visit http://www.nwoutdoorschool.org/!