Getting Kids Outside
Our region has impressive opportunities to get outside and be active year round. Parks, hiking trails, rivers, state and national forest lands, ski areas and other outdoor adventures await. There are many students who are not encouraged toward an outdoor lifestyle and don't have the opportunity to explore this abundance of outdoor recreation. In addition, studies show that once students enter middle school, activity levels for those who are not involved in team sports decrease due to lack of recess and the emphasis on organized sports programs.
Outdoor and physical activity is linked to higher grades, less stress and positive lifestyle choices. A simple change to your club could be walking to a park for lunch while more involved recreation opportunities could be developed as Outdoor clubs and encompass hiking, overnight camping and even STEM learning.
The Get Outside After School Activity Program (GO-ASAP), being developed by EOU Physical Activity and Health Faculty Kelly Rice, is taking off in eastern Oregon. The program is designed for Middle School students and incorporates outdoor recreation with understanding the health benefits of physical activity and other STEM learning.
For more information about starting a club at your school, contact Dr. Kelly Rice at Eastern Oregon University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This link takes you to a video describing the pilot year of this program at La Grande Middle School in 2015.
Wallowa Resources, located in Wallowa county, is a leader in Oregon outdoor education. Working with youth ranging in age from 2nd grade through high school, they provide a top-notch model for field-based learning that could be applied to outdoor STEM clubs at all levels.
Their out-of-school programs include Friday Science Adventures, Summer Teen Backpacking, Summer Youth Camps and paid natural resource internships for high school students.
To learn more about their youth education programs, visit their website or contact their Education Coordinator Amy Busch at 541.426.8053