Outdoor Leadership Academy
NAU’s School of Forestry hosts this outdoor program for kids aged 13-14
OLA is the third block of the forestry education foundation. The focus of this program exposes campers to an introduction to leadership in the outdoors! Through activities founded on teamwork and the fundamentals of responsible outdoor stewardship, campers learn about making good decisions in a variety of scenarios, hiking etiquette, outdoor cooking, predicting the weather, environmental leadership and tons more. Campers will practice what they learned in the Logger Olympics and put their wilderness skills to the test!
The Outdoor Leadership Academy (OLA) serves as the third tier in our Forestry Education Programs. The focus of this curriculum is to expose campers to an introduction to leadership in the outdoors. Campers learn important leadership lessons through hands-on experiential activities that emphasize teamwork, responsible stewardship, group dynamics, and safety.
Topics for the week of OLA include how to make good decisions and exercise good judgment, proper expedition behavior, an introduction to the concepts of Leave No Trace, archery, understanding weather, environmental leadership, and outdoor safety procedures. Each topic is explored using a variety of methods, with the goal of catering to all learning styles that may be found in the group. Professional presenters are invited to speak to campers about leadership in the outdoors and also to provide some insight into how campers may begin a career in their particular field of interest.
Fossil Creek visit and community service project
An adventure to Fossil Creek will provide campers with an advanced look into our water systems, riparian plant identification, and restoration of native and endemic species. At Fossil Creek, campers will get to speak with a wildlife biologist, hike the Waterfall Trail to a crystal clear swimming hole, and help to preserve this fragile environment with a community service project!
An adventure race concludes the week
The finale for the OLA is an adventure race. On Friday, the race will begin with events that test campers’ skills in survival, the proper use of outdoor equipment, hiking etiquette, dangerous weather patterns, map and compass use, and much more. Campers will work in small teams to complete the race, further emphasizing the power of working in groups. By integrating all of these topics into a week of fun in the outdoors, we hope to pique campers interest in seeking outdoor adventures and possibly pursuing careers in the environmental sciences, education, and forestry.
Presentations and awards
After the adventure race has concluded a pizza party is enjoyed by all campers. Finally, campers head back to NAU for an open-house in which parents, family, and friends enjoy campers’ PSA presentations; tree-cookie “medals” are then awarded at a small graduation ceremony. This is a wonderful way to end the session because we make sure everyone is recognized and awarded for all of their accomplishments and personal contributions during the week!