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 grateful for the wilderness experience and knowledge offered up by our instructors. By the end of the three-day outdoor education program, students said they had the opportunity to bond with our instructors, as well as their teachers and fellow classmates.
NCOAE staff members who participated in this program included Celine Adair; Stephen Mullaney and Joshua Yousem course directors; David Wilson, lead instructor; Kenzie Carson, field instructor; Jena Honeyman, Kaylyn Oates and Michaela Twarog, instructors; and Wesley Hawkins, and Maggie Venters, assistant instructors.
The Wildwood School outing was offered under NCOAE’s Custom Programs, which are designed specifically for schools and organizations that want to add customization and depth to their wilderness outings. The advantage of these types of programs include:
- You can train your entire school or staff team all at one time
- You’re finally able to address inconsistencies in education and training from one student or employee to another
- Saves you money. These trips are cost-effective because they feature group pricing versus individual open enrollment pricing
- Savings on travel costs — we can come to you
- You choose the scheduling
Collaboratively designed to address your organization’s challenges and opportunities, our custom programs leverage the NCOAE curriculum and world-class outdoor and experiential education specialists that enhance your own programs and training.
Flexibility in curriculum, pricing, location, and timing make NCOAE Custom Programs an excellent choice for planning and facilitating your next school outing.