Time for Outdoor School!!!

Wait…what?

It’s true– for something as amazing as Outdoor School, planning starts early, and we are in full swing! The South Santiam Watershed Council is grateful for the many partners that help make Sweet Home’s Outdoor School happen. Teachers and SSWC staff are busy planning activities and scheduling for this year’s Outdoor School at beautiful Camp Tadmor, where we’ve held Outdoor School for many years. For those of you new to the Outdoor School experience, here’s a little history of how the council works with the Sweet Home School District to provide Outdoor School for all!

Across the state, the majority of funding for Outdoor School history came from federal grants and community philanthropy. Different Outdoor School programs received different levels of funding, with some programs not getting enough funding for a given year. In 2016, Oregon voters passed Measure 99, which allocates a portion of Oregon lottery funds to ensure that every fifth or sixth-grader in Oregon has the opportunity to go to Outdoor School at no personal cost. Now, Outdoor School programs can breathe a little easier when planning their annual Outdoor School program.

But what exactly do we do at Outdoor School? Across Oregon, Outdoor School takes place in a wide variety of habitats. From the desert steppe in eastern Oregon to the rainy Coastal Range, Outdoor School happens everywhere! For those of us planning Outdoor School, this means we get to take into account our local habitat, flora, and fauna when coming up with the curriculum we plan to teach.

At Sweet Home’s Outdoor School, we have incorporated learning stations with physical activities like fishing and archery, which are a big hit with the kids. We also cover topics like archaeology, botany, wildlife biology, forest management, and ecology. Students have access to a range of information that they can take with them back into their classrooms, and exciting camp experiences they can take with them throughout their lives.

Camp life isn’t only about learning, but also about building connections between students as they go onto junior high. Throughout Outdoor School, students are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones and build new friendships with students from different schools. Through team-building exercises and fun group events like campfire night, our team hopes to create a truly memorable experience for all those involved. We believe that building community is just as important as the learning that takes place at Outdoor School.

Outdoor School requires the work and support of many hands. Teachers, learning station volunteers, SSWC Staff, High School Leaders, School District Staff, and parents all come together to make this week-long event possible. It is a privilege to work with so many dedicated individuals who all have the students’ education and interests in mind.

Ready to get involved?

Parents! If you have a student in 6th grade at Oak Heights, Holley, Foster or Hawthorne Elementary Schools, and want to chaperone at this year’s Outdoor School, click or tap here to sign up! This year’s dates are May 29th, May 30th, and May 31st. We are looking for both overnight and day adult chaperones during Outdoor School. You must have a current background check with the school district to volunteer as a chaperone.

High Schoolers! If you are a sophomore or junior student at Sweet Home High School who wants to be an Outdoor School Camp Leader, click or tap here to sign up! We are looking for High School Leaders in good academic standing who want to grow as leaders and serve as role models for our 6th-grade students.

We can’t wait to see you!

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