Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Course in Leadership with Venture Outdoors

On Sunday November 6, 2016, staff from the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center attended a course in outdoors leadership through Venture Outdoors. Venture Outdoors is a local non-profit organization founded in 2001 dedicated to connecting people to the outdoors. Their mission is to connect everyone to the benefits of outdoor recreation throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Their vision is to transform the Pittsburgh region into a place where the outdoors is an integral part of Pittsburgh culture, identity and lifestyle.  Now that's a mission we can get behind!

Venture Outdoors works with youth here at ALEC to connect learning to the outdoors.  In this training, led by Liz Fager (community program manager), staff here at ALEC successfully completed a module in outdoor leadership training.


How is classroom instruction different from outdoor instruction? Well, they aren't that different at all!  We learned that both classroom and outdoor instruction involve many of the same variables.  Our education coordinator, Maggie Negrete, most enjoyed delving into the different learning styles through real-life scenarios.  Group dynamics, managing expectations, leadership styles, and safety were among other main topics explored during this training.

One of the topics Alyce and I most enjoyed was the principle of "Leave No Trace".  We stress this principle as a fundamental foundation at our after school programming in order to promote environmental stewardship among our youth.  Here is a brief overview of "Leave No Trace" (as stated in the V.O. handbook):

  • The mission of Leave No Trace is to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships.
  • It's an educational program that teaches outdoor enthusiasts how to protect the places they love.
  • It combines knowledge and judgment with ethical responsibility.
  • Leave No Trace is about making good decisions to protect our resources.
We are excited to utilize what we've learned to make our future outdoor adventures even better.  Thank you Venture Outdoors!



"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks". 
- John Muir

- Anna


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