Since 1966, Outdoor School has been supplementing Oregon’s public-education system with lessons on the environment, ecology, natural resources, and flora and fauna held in a camp setting. Friends of Outdoor School was recently founded to preserve this experience for youth and to make it available to all students regardless of their socio-economic statuses.
During day-camp courses, student leaders from local high schools work with middle-school students to explore the wonders of science through hands-on outdoor activities and traditional camp experiences. Students remain active from sun up to sun down, conducting field studies, engaging in recreational activities, preparing meals, and building campfires. The student leaders emerge from the experience with greater leadership abilities and both sets of students can bring their newfound knowledge to their science and math classes.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) aims to make bicycling safe and convenient through advocacy, encouragement, and bicycle-riding education. By supporting bike transportation, the organization aims to improve the physical health and environmental sustainability of communities. BTA’s trained safety ambassadors teach bicycle-safety lessons to 5,000 students annually in 60 elementary schools across the state. During its safety program, three sessions focus on in-class learning and seven propel students onto bikes, starting on the playground and gradually moving out onto the street. A community ride follows the course, where volunteers and parents ride from the school to a local park. Students who have studied in the course each receive their own helmet to ensure they are equipped to ride safely.
Since 1983, the nonprofit Northwest Family Services has helped youth, couples, and families make healthy life decisions. Youth programs provide safe harbor for children and teens after school, and match up kids in peer-to-peer leadership programs. Summer sessions encourage kids to make new memories by playing with words and pictures in PhotoVoice camp, during heart-pounding adventure camps, or out of Popsicle sticks. For adults, the organization’s job-help programs guide applicants through resumé writing and interviewing skills. Laying out a roadmap for happy new families, marriage-prep counseling gives couples and singles tips for navigating healthy relationships.
For low-income, undocumented, underserved, immigrant, LGBTQ, gang-affected, and otherwise at-risk youth, the path to prosperity can seem impossibly arduous. No one understands that viewpoint better than the crew at Momentum Alliance, a group composed entirely of youth who have faced down and conquered dire circumstances of their own. They leverage a number of tools at their disposal?namely a guiding cadre of coaches, a network of allies, and each other?to inspire their peers to become leaders themselves. Through programs such as summer camps and workshops, the team instills leadership skills in its charges and prepares them for the transition from vulnerable individuals into effective community advocates and decision-makers.
Fences For Fido aims to facilitate change in the lives of pets and their human family members by unchaining dogs and allowing them to run free. In order to accomplish this, volunteers build custom fences and insulated doghouses for local families. They also provide shelter and veterinary care when necessary, and educate families on taking care of their dogs during extreme summer and winter temperatures. Since its inception, Fences For Fido has unchained more than 360 dogs.