Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Eli Richmond tests his courage rock climbing in the Mount Hood area during a camp earlier this summer while Kosglow belays from below.
“I’m not cold; I’m shivering with funness.”
It’s a favorite quote Lisa Kosglow says nicely sums up kids’ attitudes during her “Let’s Get Out” youth summer camps.
“The kids have been completely thrilled,” Kosglow said. “They just can’t believe how awesome the activities are, and how close they are to home.”
Hiking, kayaking, caving, rock climbing and mountain biking are included in the camp’s five-day curriculum, giving kids a taste of the many world-class outdoor activities they have just a short distance from home.
Using these outdoor adventure sports as a foundation, the youth camps focus on teaching personal values and life skills, as well as a connection with the environment and the importance of and land stewardship. Each day is dedicated learning the equipment, safety and basic techniques of a sport, as well as broader lessons about environmental factors associated with each activity. “Leave No Trace” ethics are also stressed through each activity.
“We use adventure sports as a vehicle to teach deeper values such as self-respect, compassion for our peers and land stewardship,” Kosglow explained. “Our goal is for the outdoor adventure to be transformative … to give children the tools and opportunities to think beyond themselves in a meaningful way and to connect with our home in the Gorge.”
As a two-time Olympic snowboarder, Kosglow is familiar to the sports world and has a long history of coaching and teaching youth camps. She started Let’s Get Out last year and ran two successful sessions. This year she’s partnered with Hood River Community Education and has doubled the number to four sessions; one in June, one in July (23-27) and two in August (6-10 and 13-17).
“I’ve always wanted to do a camp like this in the Gorge,” she said. “In looking for a way to make it happen, Community Ed stepped up and offered to help. With a limit of eight kids, the goal is to keep numbers small so kids have a safe experience full of learning.”
Although most kids come into the camp with experience in one or two of the activities, Kosglow says they are definitely beginner-friendly and everyone quickly ends up trying things they have never tried before.
“It’s a neat opportunity to be able to take kids out of their comfort zone,” she said. “They learn a lot about themselves and about working with others … That’s what I’m most interested in; teaching life skills that the kids will remember and use for the rest of their lives.”
With small camp sizes, advanced registration is important. For more on the camps, visit www.lets-get-out.com. From there you’ll find a link to Community Education’s registration page.