A group of student leaders mugs for the camera at Camp Tamarack
Student leaders get their first chance to be teachers, to be mentors, to have someone tell them that they are capable of teaching and being a leader. Sometimes high schoolers have never been told that.
— Lauren “Otter” Rodgers, Director, Camp Tamarack
A student leader poses with younger kids at Camp Tamarack

Student Leaders

Outdoor School ignites and inspires 5th and 6th graders across Oregon. But the ripples of its positive impact are felt far beyond those years. It’s fair to say that Outdoor School would be nearly impossible without the participation of high school students who come back in the role of student leaders.

Participating gives older students a chance to develop leadership skills, empathy, and patience while gaining an even deeper understanding of the curriculum. Outdoor School has the power to change lives. For high school students, it has the potential to change lives twice.

Learning Through Doing

Let’s Get Physical

Learning and playing outdoors allows kids to absorb information in real-world environments — something that can only be imaged in a traditional classroom setting.

Children examine tree bark during a science lesson

Learning in Nature’s Laboratory

The primary focus of Outdoor School at Camp Tamarack is learning about the local ecology — plants, water, and fire. The camp’s location enables hands-on lessons to teach these concepts in a way designed to imprint on students’ memories. It’s learning by doing, rather than by studying a text and trying to memorize facts for a test.

Bringing the Fun

While Outdoor School centers important environmental lessons, there’s plenty of old-fashioned fun too! Camp Tamarack’s facilities include rustic cabins, a dining hall, a waterfront area with canoes and kayaks, a ropes course, and various sports fields and courts. Campers can participate in activities such as hiking, archery, arts and crafts, and team-building exercises. It’s often difficult to tell where learning ends and play begins — and that’s a good thing.

Oregon Lottery + Outdoor School

What A Team

Oregon State University logoFor decades, Oregon has prioritized the importance of hands-on learning by getting students outside to explore environmental and natural sciences amid the natural beauty of our state. When Oregonians voted to allot 4% of Lottery revenue to support Outdoor School programs, the Oregon State University Extension Service was tasked with facilitating the program throughout the state. The Extension Service is historically immersed in all things “Oregon outdoors,” making it uniquely qualified to administer the new funding.

Thanks to their efforts and the revenue made possible by your lottery play (thank you!), more Oregon schools than ever are able to support traditional curriculum with an overnight camp experience — and the number is growing.