In the world of outdoor education and adventure-based recreation, there are shining stars that not only inspire peers with their reputation but also for setting the bar high for industry best practices. And here at NCOAE, we operate as if we’re one of those shining stars — not at the exclusion of anyone else, but to push ourselves to be the best we can be.
This prestigious honor comes as a result of developing and maintaining innovative programming at continuously high levels, including high ethical standards in our operations and programming, and being a supportive association member.
AEE the Organization
If you’re unfamiliar with AEE, it’s a well-respected and influential organization in our sector of the outdoor industry, that has been honoring organizations for their contributions for nearly a half century. NCOAE now joins the ranks of renowned organizations such as Deer Hill Expeditions, Thompson Island Outward Bound, Prescott College, and Project Adventure — all previously recipients of this accolade.
The St. Petersburg, Florida-based association, which was previously headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, is a (more…)
If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may recall that Education Without Walls (EWOW) began more than a decade ago here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).
Today, EWOW has become a successful organization — a self-sustaining not-for-profit complete with its own administrative staff, board of directors, programs, and funders… all of which are focused on providing academic and life skills guidance for motivated teens with financial need.
With that as background, the rest of today’s post focuses on what this fledgling organization has been up to since spinning off from NCOAE, and what’s on its horizon.
The Big 24
The organization’s first big fundraising event — The Big 24, which aims to raise enough funds to award one-year scholarships to 24 deserving students — begins this Sunday (Aug. 15) and runs through Oct. 15, culminating with a first-ever “Evening Without Walls” fundraising event.
Education Without Walls has always been focused on merging meaningful outdoor adventures with ongoing mentorship to assist aspiring students in identifying and accomplishing their (more…)
The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education’s founders Zac and Celine Adair recently returned from this month’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the buzz inside The Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center was centered around moving the show out of Utah and to a state with “a more friendly view of federally designated lands.”
The controversy stems from a yearlong dispute that pits the present governor of Utah, Republican legislators and many residents of the area against environmentalists and dozens of Native American tribal nations.
The argument revolves around determining the best way to conserve and develop the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah.
Named for a pair of isolated mesas resembling a bear raising its head above the horizon, Bears Ears National Monument encompasses 1.3 million acres of wilderness area between the San Juan and Colorado rivers. This triangle of land is held sacred by a number of Native American tribes, including a coalition of Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni governments.
An estimated 100,000 archaeological sites are located (note: link opens a PDF file) — and protected — within the Bears Ears area, including cliff dwellings that date back more than 3,500 years and other cultural sites that are deemed sacred to the half dozen tribes that make up the coalition.
And while nearly everyone involved in this eco-dispute agrees the Bears Ears area should be protected, the extent of management of the land is in question, with many Utah legislators envisioning room for commercial development and fossil fuel extraction in lands adjacent to the area.
For more than four decades, Utah ranchers, residents and lawmakers have fought to (more…)
As 2016 comes to an end, we’re honored to take a moment out from our end-of-year activities to say thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement of The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).
When our founders Zac & Celine Adair started this organization in 2009, their mission then for NCOAE was as clear as it is today — improve people’s self-confidence and interpersonal relationships through the teaching of a core curriculum emphasizing teamwork, environmental stewardship and the acquisition of technical outdoor skills. We’ve come a long way since 2009, and guided by that same mission, 2016 has been another year of phenomenal growth.
A few key highlights: (more…)
There was a time, not so long ago, that when it came out outdoor recreation gear, apparel and accessories, women were told one size fits all. “You there, young lady! I understand you need a backpack for a serious wilderness expedition? No problem. See that one over there that Jonathan is trying on? That’s the one for you!”
Suffice to say, the manufacturers of outdoor gear, apparel and accessories haven’t always greeted women interested in backcountry travel with open arms. Oh how times have changed, and for the better!
Celine Adair, co-founder and director of operations here at The National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education (NCOAE), will address the specific clothing and gear requirements for women who prefer their hikes to be more vertical in nature than horizontal and don’t think the term “roughing it” means room service is going to be late.
Celine, along with NCOAE instructor Jena Honeyman, will be speaking on the topic from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Great Outdoor Provisions Co. store in Wilmington, N.C. (The store is located at 3501 Oleander Drive — at the Hanover Center Shopping Mall — and the talk is free and open to the public.)
Outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturers didn’t truly recognize the potential for women’s wilderness equipment and accessories until about a decade ago. It’s not that they didn’t know there’s a difference between men and women. It was more the case of “one size fits all” when it comes to outdoor gear.
Wrong thinking, of course, but now that the (more…)
Nothing makes us happier here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) than meeting up with three busloads of seventh and eighth graders in a wilderness area and then teaching them about how to get along in an outdoor setting — in this case Joshua Tree National Park with its breathtaking sandstone rock formations monuments.
Last month, a group of our instructors from both the East and West Coasts participated in a three-day outing with 123 students from the famed Wildwood School in Los Angeles. These youngsters participated in what they and their teachers described afterwards as an incredible experience.
Our co-founder and director of operations, Celine Adair, was there and said these “super smart Wildwood students,” joined 34 adults in setting up 52 tents in a base camp that became a theater of sorts, complete with two special sunsets, seven great meals, an orchestra performance by about a dozen coyotes each night, and topped off with a full-moon lunar eclipse with a few shooting stars tossed into the astronomical mix.
During the three-day outing, the Wildwood group participated in environmental studies, including learning the phases of the moon — very appropriate for the eclipse — local ecology and water use conservation.
They also broke up into smaller groups to learn about levels of communication, stages of relationships, and to discuss the best ways to identify and discuss feelings. Finally, they also learned outdoor skills, such as setting up a shelter, keeping warm, fire safety, hydration, hygiene and how to get found if lost.
Wildwood’s staff tells us they were (more…)
Editor’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…)