Posted 01/03/2019 5:41:53 PM by Oliver Lam

Anytime youth can step out of their comfort zone and break away from their day-to-day routine, they have an opportunity to take in new experiences and develop valuable skills that can help them today and well into the future. One program that does an amazing job of creating these opportunities for youths is the Outdoor Education Program that runs in many local schools, both in elementary and high school.

This programs is a great way for children and school staff to have a bit of adventure and connect with one another in an environment that extends well beyond the school hallways. The Outdoor Education Program also fosters a sense of wonder and skill development that can't be replicated in a classroom. Here are four areas of skill development that an outdoor education experience provides youth:

1. Team building

From conflict resolution to effective communication to building trust and confidence with their peers, learning the value of team building is always a huge focal point of any outdoor education program. Some of the activities that support this area of skill development are canoeing, low ropes courses, rock climbing as well other sports and games that the youth are involved in during their time together.

2. Environmental Awareness

For kids, this is about much more than just spending time outside. Being environmentally aware is having an understanding of the world around them, how our ecosystem works and what role they play in keeping our environment sustainable and protected. The path to having environmental awareness begins with activities like a marine beach study, nature hikes and a forest study.

3. Independence

Leaving the comforts of home for an overnight experience can be a challenging (and scary) step for many kids—but that's what makes outdoor education programs so impactful. It's amazing to see the transformation kids go through after the experience. Many kids return home with a newfound sense of confidence, independence and adventure—three elements that we all know are extremely beneficial for any person, regardless of their age. This independence is achieved through activities such as high ropes course, kayaking and archery, which is always a great way to gain a sense of accomplishment.

4. Survival Skills

Just like swimming, there are certain life skills that have tremendous value and importance. Having the chance to learn how to build a fire, create a shelter, navigate in unfamiliar surroundings and successfully tie a variety of knots, all leads to knowledge that will stick with participants for a lifetime.

YMCA Camp Elphinstone: Outdoor Education

Ahh, the great outdoors. With 144 acres of ocean-front property, lush rainforest and quiet creeks, YMCA Camp Elphinstone is the perfect place for school groups to enjoy an amazing outdoor education experience. Designed with meaningful outdoor experiential learning, our outdoor ed program helps students develop strong and healthy minds and bodies while they learn and grow with their classmates.


Oliver Lam

About Oliver Lam

Oliver is a Marketing and Communications Manager based out of Joyce YMCA. He loves watching sports documentaries, enjoys cooking and will take advantage of any and every opportunity to spend time at Granville Island with his family.

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