Imagine the discoveries that the emigrants made as they traveled along the California Trail. Discoveries about the landscape, about plants and animals, about those they traveled with, and themselves. Summer camps at Nevada Outdoor School are full of discovery also! While we may not travel thousands of miles over many months, our campers are transported by our outdoor educators into discovery mindsets, no matter where they are.
Nevada is a state that can boast about great biological diversity and a deep and rich historical story. If one were to only stay on I-80 passing through at 80 miles an hour, much of the beauty and legend will be missed, but when one opts to step off the beaten path, treasures await.
Great Basin National Park is one of those treasures. Located about 1 hour southeast of Ely, this national park is a great place to sample the diversity of Nevada and discover things about nature and yourself. Campers, ages 11 - 13, attending the Great Basin Excursion were able to walk among the ancient bristlecone pine trees, experience total darkness and stunning stalactites, stalagmites, and cave shields inside Lehman Caves, and observe one of the darkest night skies in our country. Four nights of camping also afforded campers the opportunity to work together as a team to make meals and take care of one another, while sharing many laughs around the evening “campfire”. Due to the campfire ban, along with daily afternoon thunderstorms, campers discovered how they could adapt, overcome, and make the best of a situation.
The California Trail Interpretive Center is another Nevada treasure that is ripe with discovery, celebrating the tenacity and spirit of the nearly 250,000 people who bravely set out for California between 1841 and 1869. Spending a day there is like going back in time, with an added bonus of air conditioning. Day-campers, ages 8 - 13, walked along the nature trail discovering animal tracks and scat, cooked their lunch in a Dutch oven, explored the Center exhibits conveying them from Missouri to California, made crafts, shot bows and arrows, and threw axes.
California Trail Interpretive Center
Day Campers spent time learning and practicing with bow and arrows.
with bows and arrows and throwing axes? Is that safe? That may be an initial reaction by many, but
at Nevada Outdoor School we know that outdoor education is risky business that can
be carefully managed with training, thoughtful prior preparation, and careful
management of participants. Allowing
kids to fully participate in activities like archery and axe throwing helps
them to discover and stretch their physical abilities while teaching them about
safety and how risk can be managed by choices.
California Trail Interpretive Center Day Campers spent time learning and practicing with bow and arrows.
If bows and arrows and axes weren’t enough, in Battle Mountain at Borealis Park another group of day campers, ages 8 - 13, were launching rockets and discovering the power of the sun and its ability to warm up their lunch of chili and cheese in a solar oven. Dreaming of space travel and learning about our solar system inspires campers to reach for the stars.
Children (and adults, too!) who spend time outdoors are known to be happier, stronger, and more confident. Why? At Nevada Outdoor School we love to get people outdoors where they can experience discoveries through the use of all five senses - a complete submersion into situational awareness that simply does not occur indoors. Physical, mental, spiritual discoveries happen outdoors. Get outside, it is good for humans everywhere.