September 2014

NCOAE Now Offers Custom Programs

By Office Admin September 30, 2014

Custom Programs

NCOAE_logo_development6We’re not sure who said it first but the person who coined the phrase ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ really was onto something. Whether it’s in education, hats, management, or financial services, one size doesn’t fit all, and the same goes for your employee training and teambuilding.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce the launch of Custom Programs here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education. That’s right… in addition to open enrollment teen and adult backcountry courses — and training in emergency medicine, wilderness medicine, and Leave No Trace (LNT) — NCOAE now offers custom programs to meet any of your organization’s highly specific needs.

  • Want to train your entire team in the fundamentals of wilderness medicine? No problem. We’ll even run the program at your location!
  • Interested in taking your executives out for a custom three-day backcountry teambuilding experience? We’ve got you covered.
  • What’s that you say… you have a group of teenage girls who deserve a trip of their own? No problem… start with any of our teen adventure itineraries and tell us what you’d like keep or change, and that’s the course we’ll run for you.

See where we’re going with this?

The advantage of custom programs include (more…)

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New Research Focuses on The Impact of Face Time Versus Screen Time

By Office Admin September 19, 2014

Outdoor Education News

According to research we’ve recently discovered, children ages 8–18 now spend seven-and-a-half hours a day, seven days a week, using screens outside of the classroom. Those ages 12–17 use their phones to text message on a daily basis more than any other form of communication, including face-to-face interactions with peers, parents and others in their community.

And the trend is only growing. In the last two years alone, teen use of screens (think smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) has increased five-fold. For an organization like The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education, these findings present both challenges and opportunities.

When grade schoolers and teens enroll in our adventure-based, outdoor education-focused backcountry courses, we inform them ahead of time that tablets and phones are not approved for use during backcountry travel. On the opportunity side of that equation, we find the same outcomes that researchers from UCLA recently did when they conducted an experiment that examined whether increasing opportunities for face-to-face interaction during an outdoor education program — while eliminating the use of screen-based media and communication tools — improved nonverbal emotion–cue recognition in preteens.

From a write up in The Wall Street Journal:

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, wondered if all screen time might be affecting children’s ability to read emotions in others. To find out, they took advantage of a rustic science-education program, 70 miles east of L.A., which doesn’t permit students to use electronic devices. (more…)

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Staff Profile: NCOAE Co-Founder and Director of Operations Celine Adair

By Office Admin September 12, 2014

Staff Profiles

ncoae-team_celine-adairEditor’s Note: In our continuing effort to introduce the staff at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we decided we’d go straight to the top of the ladder and quiz Celine Adair, our co-founder and director of operations.

Celine is in charge of a lot of things here at NCOAE, including grant writing, staff development, policy development, curriculum development, office management, student and parent liaison, and some billing and bookkeeping in her free time. Originally from a small town about an hour north of New York City, Celine majored in wilderness therapy and marriage and family therapy, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 from Prescott College (Ariz.) and a Masters degree in marriage and family therapy in 2005 from Argosy University.

Celine is married to Zac Adair, NCOAE’s executive director and the second “Co” in the co-founder set. Here’s Celine in her own words:

NCOAE: So how did a girl from Brewster, N.Y., end up in a college in Prescott, Ariz.?

Celine: It was big wonderful chain of events that lead me to Arizona. I was awarded a soccer scholarship for a Division III school in Virginia. When I arrived, I immediately knew I was in the wrong town and at the wrong school. To make things worse, I injured my ankle in the preseason and was unable to play a lick of the game that got me there.

I was young and I didn’t have the courage or insight to do anything about my unhappiness, so I quickly turned into an unmotivated freshman. That spring I crossed paths with a director for a summer camp in North Carolina who offered me a job because she saw that I worked well with kids. 

The director asked what are my special interests were and I referenced the environmental group ‘Unless’ that my best friend and I started in high school. The director put me on the backpacking and rock climbing staff, thinking it would be a good fit. By the end of that summer, I had slept out under the stars more nights then I was inside under a roof — and I thought that was the greatest concept ever! Before that summer I had never even seen a backpack, a camp stove or a topo map.

However, my first attempt of living this new dream was a failed mission. I applied for a job in Utah to lead three-week-long backcountry courses. They turned me down, big time. I still remember the phone interview — which was really more like HR lecturing me that I was too young and inexperienced.

I didn’t want to return to school, in the wake of my freshman year failure where I achieved horrible grades and had a throng of not-so-great people hanging out in my dorm room.

I came across Prescott Colleges’ 1996 course catalogue and I thought, “This is were I need to be.” So I made it happen. I came up with a plan and I implemented it. I pick up my grads, became a certified EMT, trained and worked on the Gauely and New River and applied to transfer to Prescott my junior year.

NCOAE: Tell us about a time you realized you had the power to do something meaningful.

Celine: That same summer I was hired at the camp, I climbed “The Daddy,” which is a classic climb in Linville Gorge, N.C. It’s an easy climb, but long and exposed. The last pitch is a summit pitch and when you top out, you are on this beautiful mountaintop in an amphitheater of rock. I had a feeling of being limitless.

And then, of course, there was the adventure of giving birth to my son, Sawyer.

NCOAE: On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?

Celine: Not at all. I mean, I guess a little. It really depends on the day and if I’ve had my exercise. Things can get weird when I don’t. (more…)

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Understanding The NCOAE Curriculum, Part 4

By Office Admin September 5, 2014

NCOAE Curriculum

Judging from the headline atop this particular blog post, you can gather that this is the fourth in a series of posts about the curriculum we offer here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE). And if you haven’t taken a look at the first three installments, it would behoove you to do so (see: Getting to the Core of the NCOAE Curriculum, Part 1; Getting to the Core of the NCOAE Curriculum, Part 2; and, Understanding the NCOAE Curriculum, Part 3).

CurriculumPost4GraphicBIn those three posts, as well as this final chapter on the topic, we discuss the deeper social topics that are covered in our educational groups (Ed Groups), which are a key component to the delivery of our one-of-a-kind curriculum.

As background, it’s important to note that the objective of our curriculum is to assist in the development of skills that will help our course participants’ to become even better citizens of the world. That’s a lofty objective, but in our mind, it hovers way above what we can teach about map & compass reading and basic camp craft (which of course we do teach, as well). Because without these particular “people skills,” interacting with others in any environment — outdoor adventures included — can become an unrewarding and unruly undertaking.

In past blog posts on this topic — and again, please read those before continuing forward on this last installment — we discussed such acquirable skills as conflict resolution, civic responsibility, feelings identification and defense mechanisms, to name a few. In this, our fourth and final curriculum series entry, topics include group decision-making, values clarification, stereotypes, critical thinking, and leadership qualities.

Let’s get the ball rolling with our seventh Ed Group topic — group decision making.

Making decisions at the group level can be (more…)

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Have any further questions about our courses, what you’ll learn, or what else to expect? Contact us, we’re here to help!