NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Why National Service Matters

At Nevada Outdoor School (NOS), national service is at the heart of what we do! Since NOS was founded in 2002, AmeriCorps members have been serving with our organization. In 2007, NOS received our first AmeriCorps grant, providing opportunities for people to bring out the best of America, specifically in Nevada.  The national AmeriCorps program enrolls more than 250,000 individuals to serve, making a difference all across America.  

AmeriCorps is a federal agency that connects individuals to organizations.  AmeriCorps has a rich national history, starting in 1964 when the Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) program was instituted to help combat poverty.  In 1973 the Domestic Volunteer Service Act authorized the creation of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and in 1992 the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program was developed to assist communities in recovery after a natural disaster or to meet other critical needs.  In 1993, AmeriCorps was created as the government agency overseeing national and community service, incorporating the previously created programs.  In 1994, the first class of 20,000 AmeriCorps individuals took the pledge to, “Get things done for America”.  Since then, AmeriCorps members have been involved in efforts associated with 3rd grade literacy, assisting with 9/11 devastation and recovery, natural disaster recovery, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, combatting the opioid crisis, and most recently COVID support.

The AmeriCorps Program relationship at Nevada Outdoor School can be a bit confusing, because Nevada Outdoor School is the administrator of the Program, as well as a host site.  What does that mean?  Nevada Outdoor School is granted money through Nevada Volunteers each year to administer or place AmeriCorps Members at host sites throughout rural Nevada.  What is a host site?  A host site is a nonprofit organization that has formally requested an AmeriCorps member to come serve at their site to fill a need in the community.  Currently, Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps Director, Zulma Mayorga, oversees members at 6 host sites.  The host sites are, Friends of Black Rock High Rock, Pershing County Senior Center, Pleasant Senior Center, Frontier Community Action Agency, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and Nevada Outdoor School.  Members at these host sites assist their nonprofit organization with daily activities ranging from trail maintenance to teaching children to helping seniors fill out paperwork to manning food pantries.  In total, in 2021, twenty-four AmeriCorps members placed by Nevada Outdoor School provided 16,824 hours of service in the state of Nevada, helping 483 people, and improving 445 acres of land.

Peter, an AmeriCorps Member serving at Friends of Nevada Wilderness through the NOS AmeriCorps Program


While AmeriCorps members do get paid for their efforts, it is not a lot.  Monthly stipends are low, but the real benefit comes in the Segal Education Award that changes lives.  Depending on the number of hours served, members can earn up to over $6,000/year that can be used to pay of existing student loans, pay for tuition at most universities, colleges, or trade schools, or other education opportunities.

The AmeriCorps Members placed at Nevada Outdoor School serve as Outdoor Educators and are our teachers and summer camp counselors.  We could not do what we do in our communities without the AmeriCorps program!  What to learn more?  Visit or


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Summer Camp Matters

 Kids (and adults!) who grow up attending summer camp usually have great stories to tell about adventures and learning.  Whether it is church, band, Scouting, or an athletic camp, parents who make the financial and time sacrifice to get their kids to camp reap the benefits for a lifetime.  Of course, as a kid, it will simply be viewed as an escape from the normal routine, but upon reflection they will giggle at all the things learned, intended and un-intended. 

There is so much research on the value of summer camp for kids of all ages.  The intended learning of camp specific content, like musical scales or athletic techniques, are the obvious gains for kids.  But, perhaps the more memorable and life-shaping learnings are those that fall in the un-intended category.  The exposure to a diverse range of fellow campers opens up an individual’s world and helps one to begin to appreciate that everyone is not like me.  For example, from something as simple as morning and nightly routines, we learn a lot from observing, adapting and adjusting to what others need and do.  Then there are the shenanigans that kids do, just because they are kids.  From pulling off the greatest heist in history, stealing the boys’ pillows to the heartbreak of saying goodbye to your new best-est friend, we learn a lot from camp. 

Nevada Outdoor School is proud to offer summer camp opportunities for kids 4 - 17 years old.  Nature is our backdrop and outside is our favorite location.  The focus of our camps is to challenge kids to analyze their actions, evaluate their impacts, and choose wisely.  From outdoor recreation such as hiking and ATV riding, to dealing with peers, parents, and teachers, understanding the link between action, impact, and choice empowers children to be responsible stewards of the environment and themselves.  We want all kids to grow up to be healthy, happy, and engaged community members who are connected to their natural world and choose to behave responsibly.  


Kids at 2021 Nevada Outdoor School summer camp revealing their Leave No Trace poster.

Nature at Nine programs introduce 4 - 7 year olds to the natural world, and will be offered in eight locations (Elko, Spring Creek, Carlin, Wells, Winnemucca, Imlay, Battle Mountain, and Paradise Valley).  Our Adventure Camps for 8 - 10 year olds begin to expand knowledge and skills, and for many is a first camp-out experience.  Pathfinder Camps for 11 - 13 year olds builds on the knowledge and skills to stretch kids to expand their nature- and self-knowledge.  For the 11 - 13 year olds we also expand their horizons with our expeditions to the Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Great Basin National Park.  Finally, Backroad Explorers and Backpacking Adventures for 14 - 17 year olds tests physical skills and prepares campers to be leaders in outdoor recreation.  New this year is an adult (18+) backpacking opportunity in the Ruby Mountains, come be a kid again!

Our highly-capable and trained staff and team of AmeriCorps members is prepared to deliver the most amazing summer camp opportunities for kids of rural Nevada.  The Nevada Outdoor School team is excited to welcome your children (or you!) to one of our 2022 Summer Camps!  Visit to register today.