Camp Fire First Texas was awarded a $49,773 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant to implement a three-phase program over the next two years through the Texas Outdoor Education Center (TxOEC) at El Tesoro.
“This grant is a great fit with the mission of Camp Fire. It will allow us to teach Fort Worth ISD high school students about our natural environment and then help them develop leadership skills as they get the opportunity to share what they have learned with Fort Worth ISD elementary school students. We think this format will help develop a lasting appreciation of the outdoors”, said Brian Miller, vice president of outdoor connection at Camp Fire First Texas.
The first of the three phases of this program will welcome approximately 60 high school students who will spend two days and one night participating in Camp Fire’s Outdoor Adventure Program at TxOEC. While there, they will receive basic outdoor survival skills training including “Leave No Trace”, archery, fire building, orienteering, canoe/kayaking, night hiking/astronomy, outdoor cooking and environmental education using Texas Aquatic Science and Project Wild curriculum. The program will also include guest speakers from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
After successfully completing their initial training, the youth will return in a leadership and teaching role for several one-day outdoor adventures for approximately 200 elementary students. The curriculum they are leading is tied to TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and lessons are customized to meet the requests of the schools.
Those who complete the previous two phases will be eligible to take a trip to Cleburne State Park for a Texas Outdoor Family Camping 2-day workshop that includes “Coffee with Rangers”, hiking, stargazing, fishing and geocaching. The trip will provide the teens an opportunity to put their skills to use and reinforce what they have learned while shadowing park staff and completing a lasting improvement project that could include hiking trails or signage.
Developing a program where teens can get hands on experience in the outdoors and are challenged as leaders requires the support multiple organizations. We are proud of our partnership with the different branches Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and FWISD. With the common goal of building a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors, we think this program will have a positive impact on the future of the participants,” added Miller.
The program will begin recruiting students in Fall 2020* through the Fort Worth ISD’s Health, PE and Coordinated Health Department, Camp Fire Teens in Action and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.
Learn more about the Texas Outdoor Education Center at CampFireFW.org/TXOEC/.