Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS), 10 students enrolled in our Education Without Walls program will participate in a 21-day summer 2017 backcountry adventure in southeast Alaska. The funding for the trip, which is designated as an NPS Challenge Cost Share Program Grant, covers nearly all the costs associated with taking the students to our northernmost state for what amounts to the trip of their young lives.
The only catch is, the five boys and five girls selected for this outdoor education and service learning adventure are still a bit shy of having enough funds to make the trip, which will be guided by a trio of National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) instructors, as well as two National Park Service archeologists.
Specifically, each of the students pictured above will need about $1,000 to pay for round- trip commercial airfare from Wilmington, NC, and bush flights throughout the Alaskan interior.
Once there, in addition to a rash of breathtaking day hikes and exploratory treks, the 10 students be working alongside a National Park Service archeologist to clear brush and debris within the Chititu Historic Mining Landscape. This historic area features more than 30 structures and features exemplifying a mid-20th century mining camp.
The problem is, many of the buildings are dilapidated and the camp itself has become seriously overgrown — including structures along the six-mile trail leading to and from the camp. Encroachment from the adjacent forests as well as harsh weather, neglect and a lack of maintenance has resulted in a sorry-looking historic site.
Our 10 Education Without Walls students will work at the camp to remove and replace deteriorated bear fences as well as replace damaged water-bars, and clear trail heads and branch routes.
But the goal is far loftier than just a three-week effort to clean up a historic mining camp. Education Without Walls offers poverty level youngsters the opportunity to make new friends, acquire new skills, and learn about themselves — all while having fun on a series of outdoor adventures guided and facilitated by NCOAE’s world-class instructors and field staff.
Taking a step back for a moment, we here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education have long promoted critical thinking, improved interpersonal relationships, and civic and environmental opportunity and responsibility through outdoor and adventure-based experiential educational. And we are very excited to take 10 local youth — all of whom live at or below the federal poverty level — on this three-week, once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Alaska’s wilderness this summer.
The NPS Challenge Cost Share Program supports nonprofits like NCOAE that focus on youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors. In fact, NCOAE’s Education Without Walls program engages young people in visiting National Park Service areas to play, learn, serve, and work with the park service on providing improvements to our nation’s park system.
Education Without Walls help youth improve their understanding and practice of environmental stewardship, civic responsibility, decision-making, interpersonal communication, leadership abilities and outdoors technical skills.
Many of the students involved Education Without Walls — which is a year-round program — end up receiving high school credit for environmental studies, physical education and outdoor leadership. As a result, our studies show that 81 percent go on to exhibit positive academic growth, and 97 percent were promoted to the next grade following such adventures. Seventy-eight percent showed an increase in levels of self-actualization, and Education Without Walls grads showed rates that are 20 percent above those experienced by non-participating students.
Sure, these are just dry statistics, but the proof is the smiles and pride these students show after an service learning adventure like the one offered these students this June.
If you’d like to become involved, NCOAE is gratefully accepting tax-deductible contributions and donations for the 10 students travel costs. For more information, please download the brochure below by clicking on the link just above the image.