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.
Hands & Voices was originally founded to unite people within the deaf community who had chosen different methods of communication. It began when a parent-support group in Colorado witnessed a national debate over the merits of oral versus ASL communication within the deaf community in response to an exhibit at the Smithsonian. Aggrieved by anger that resulted in the exhibit being shut down, the parents worked to create an entity that would represent and aid all deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
A local autonomous chapter of this national movement, Hands & Voices of Oregon helps new parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. When children do not pass the newborn hearing screening, Hands & Voices of Oregon contacts their families with information about follow-up diagnostics and educational and communication services. Each family also gains access to a guide who can provide emotional support, connect parents to resources and other families, and attend developmental planning meetings at schools.
Career Club members gain access to career opportunities as well as mentors who can help them improve their writing and computer skills, explore their individual talents and strengths, and complete applications for college and scholarships. Career Club also includes site visits, interviews, and presentations from expert speakers that illuminate a variety of possible career fields. The free program includes weekly activities from October through August and relies completely on donations to cover its costs.