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A Day In the Life at Outdoor Lab... During a Global Pandemic

Outdoor Lab has been able to be open this whole school year - both due to the extensive work of the site staff and also because much of the programming is outdoors. We get many questions about the format of Outdoor Lab - so we thought we'd share with you "a day in the life!"


  • Kids arrive at their home school and a health screening (temperature check and symptom check) is done

  • They board busses and arrive on-site around 10:30 a.m.

  • All groups gather around the flag circle for a ceremony and general welcome

  • Groups are dismissed to basecamps (known as bunkhouses during the 5-day residential program) to use the restroom, wash hands and are led through a few activities to build community and set the tone for the week


  • Lunch is served (kudos to the kitchen staff for being able to adjust in a way where kids still rave about the food!)

  • Groups are led through outdoor activities by interns, with the support of high school leaders, for the next four hours (click link or select below to learn about activities)


  • Students gather at the flag circle for an evening ceremony

  • Groups are dismissed back to "basecamp" to use the restroom, wash hands and eat dinner

  • Students board busses between 5:15-5:30 and head back to their school


Class Descriptions: 

Initiatives: Students take a deep dive into our OLES' value system of “I-CARE” (Integrity, Commitment, Awareness, Respect and Empathy), and see how these concepts come into practice on the challenge course

Teambuilding: Students participate in activities based on the characteristics of a good team and a good leader

Archery: Students learn the skill of shooting a bow and arrow at the archery range

What Lives Here?: Students figure out what lives in a montane ecosystem by looking for evidence and using a simple reference field guide provided by staff. Students also make ecosystem models from their notes and, through discussion, use the models as evidence to try to better understand the interconnections within the ecosystem

Survival: Students learn the basic needs of survival through scenarios led by Outdoor Lab staff

Leave No Trace: Students learn about the seven principles of Leave No Trace, reflect on their impact on the environment, evaluate a campsite using the LNT principles and think about how they can take these principles back to their community

Exploring History: Students get a chance to explore the history of the Outdoor Lab sites. They are led through historic buildings, learn about the people who used this land before, and how the land came to be used as Outdoor Lab