Outdoor School

Outdoor School

Program Overview

"A reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human well-being [...] A real field trip provides a chance for students to use all their senses, spontaneity, and investigative learning—what researchers called a superior learning environment that goes beyond specific curriculum-based learning”
—from The Nature Principle by Richard Louv.

We prepared an outdoor school program to meet the needs of your educational service district, school district, or school. Programs range from two to five nights in length. Students will be led by professional staff to deliver an educational program that will meet your learning objectives and state science standards.

We can accommodate up to 225 students at one time. Students will sleep in our all-season, bunk-style cabins. Our experienced food service staff prepares well-rounded meals everyone will enjoy. 

Our affordable rates and customizable programs allow your school to build a unique program for most budgets. Funding for fifth or sixth grade students is provided through OSU Extension Service.

Environmental Education Classes

Our program focuses on nurturing a sense of appreciation for the natural world through an understanding of ecological systems. Utilizing the forest and river habitats common to the area around YMCA Camp Collins, basic ecological concepts are introduced and studied with an emphasis on how students can interact positively within natural systems. Investigations are incorporated into the classes so that students can apply the scientific method in the field.  All classes are aligned with state learning standards. Classes include

  • Citizen Scientist
  • Forest Ecology
  • Habitat Hike
  • Micro-Forest
  • Orienteering 
  • River Ecology
  • Sculls, Scat & Tracks
  • Sustainability
Team Building & Challenge Programs

Utilizing group initiatives and low ropes, students work together to solve problems that challenge them both mentally and physically. Team activities focus on building cooperation, problem solving skills, trust, self-reliance, and self-esteem to build strong individuals and strong groups. Outdoor School Instructors create a supportive and judgment-free atmosphere where individuals and groups are able to challenge themselves and learn through their experiences.

  • Group Initiatives
  • Low Ropes 
  • Cabin Challenges
Outdoor Activities

Through the exploration of new experiences, students are pushed outside of their normal routines and learn to set goals for themselves while encouraging others. Students are provided the opportunity to challenge themselves on the rock wall, and work to achieve their own climbing goals. Students are encouraged to learn from both instructors and their peers to improve their archery skills. An emphasis on the character values of love, respect, honesty, responsibility, and service during the arts and crafts activity provides time for reflection. 

  • Archery        
  • Climbing Tower
  • Group Games
  • Orienteering
  • Crafts

Most groups that attend YMCA Camp Collins fully utilize the resources by choosing classes from all three areas: Environmental Education, Team Building and Outdoor Activities. Programs are predominantly held outdoors in our beautiful forest setting. Our standard rate includes meals, housing, and program.

Parent Packet

Chaperone Packet

Teacher Packet

Camp Employment

We are hiring positions for our Outdoor School Program. If you are interested in applying, view our employee packet or apply online.

For reservations, questions, or school rate information, email Brian White, Group Services Director, or call 503.663.5523.

For Outdoor School curriculum and program information, email Preston Jones, Outdoor School Director, or call 503.663.3190.