Hundreds of Students to Meet Mother Nature Thanks to $50K Grant to Camp Fire First Texas
May 16, 2017 (Fort Worth, Texas) – At a time with childhood obesity is on the rise and technology-driven teens spend a majority of time indoors, youth in Fort Worth ISD will receive the experience of a lifetime, thanks to Camp Fire First Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Students enrolled in FWISD’s Adventure and Outdoor Education, a new Physical Education (PE) course during the 2017-18 academic year, will embark on an interactive learning experience like no other – a two-day, one-night trip to Camp Fire’s Texas Outdoor Education Center (TxOEC). The cost of the trip is fully covered for every student, funded by a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife, received by Camp Fire First Texas.
The need and support for engaging outdoor education at no cost to the student is evident in our community:
- 76% of FWISD students qualify for free or reduced lunch in 2016
- 33% of youth in Texas are obese
- $50,000 grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife
- 100% of the cost of the trip will be covered for students
- At least 400 high school students are expected to enroll in the newly available FWISD course
- Data shows youth involved in Camp Fire programs increase their enjoyment of nature and their desire to preserve and take care of it.
“This partnership between Camp Fire and Fort Worth ISD is a truly unique relationship,” Christina Middlebrook, vice president of outdoor programs at Camp Fire First Texas said. “Youth in Fort Worth, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, are going to experience the outdoors in the most wonderful way. It is well-documented that youth need a direct connection to the outdoors, but in Fort Worth ISD, a majority of youth are on free or reduced lunch – these children can’t afford traditional camping opportunities. Being outdoors supports creativity and problem solving, enhances cognitive abilities, improves academic performance, reduces stress, and helps youth stay physically active. Environmental learning is a core value of Camp Fire. We believe in the power of nature to awaken curiosity, ingenuity and a sense responsibility to protect wildlife, preserve ecosystems, and sustain the environment.”
Over the course of the trips, TxOEC will provide a customized, comprehensive education program to enhance the students’ course work experience – making this the first experience of its kind for youth in FWISD. Trained adults, with backgrounds in environmental and outdoor fields, will lead students through an inventory of outdoor and environmental skills that can only be accomplished by leveraging the interactive learning environment at El Tesoro, Camp Fire’s 223-acre property in Granbury, Texas. Armed with a field journal and outdoor classroom supplies for activities, students will follow three educational tracks to ensure a robust learning experience: Environment and Nature, Creativity and Contribution, and Challenge and Adventure. FWISD course instructors will receive a teacher’s guide to continue their outdoor and adventure exploration when they return to their campus.
All educational tracks support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) learning objectives. Activities in the tracks include collecting and identifying fossils on Fall Creek, archery, bird watching, wildflower identification, orienteering, and outdoor cooking. These concrete skills will be embedded within the foundation of an overnight stay at camp and the necessary emotional attributes needed to do so successfully.
“By implementing this project with students who have interest in the outdoors, Camp Fire looks to influence future leaders in the outdoor and environmental sciences as they begin to make decisions about their career paths. A connection with the outdoors provides critical tools for a 21st century workforce. We will be passing on complicated environmental problems to future generations. We must give the next generation a solid understanding of these problems and the basic tools to overcome them and make informed choices in their own lives,” Middlebrook said.
For more information about the outdoor learning experience, or the Texas Outdoor Education Center, contact Middlebrook at 817.831.2111, or Christina@CampFireFW.org.