Teachers and kids at Harrison Elementary in Cottage Grove spend the entire school year fundraising for just a four-day trip in May. But those four days at Camp Tadmor in Lebanon — spent canoeing, fishing, studying wildlife and environments, and doing team-building activities — leave an impression on kids that can last a lifetime, say leaders and teachers who have come back year after year for decades.
Think Out Loud went to Camp Tadmor on May 26 to find out what learning outdoors does for kids and why adults have such affection for outdoor school.
We talk to Dave Bertz, the director of Camp Tadmor who lives on-site, about the camp itself and his experience growing up without much exposure to nature.
Allison Lillard is a fifth-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary in Cottage Grove. She went to Camp Tadmor for the first time as a kid at Harrison, volunteered there through high school and now coordinates Harrison’s entire program every year.
Dan Prince is Multnomah County Education Service District‘s Outdoor School coordinator and also a father whose kids’ lives have been changed by their mentors at Oregon outdoor schools.
Many of the Harrison Elementary students and the counselors at Camp Tadmor shared their experiences with us as well.