Get youth outdoors through 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge

Looking for ways to get youth outdoors? Consider 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge as your gateway to outdoor fun and excitement.

Michigan State University Extension's 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge (OAC) is a youth driven program aimed at getting youth outdoors while engaged in challenging activities to help them develop valuable life skills. The primary content areas of OAC include backpacking, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rock climbing and winter camping. Any volunteer, 4-H staff or club interested in expanding or starting an outdoor component should strongly consider attending these workshops.

These workshops provide an overview of OAC programming and specific skills needed to successfully coordinate challenge activities. Important skills are explained, demonstrated and practiced that helps build confidence for leaders so they can share those skills with youth. Outdoor skills are not the only topics addressed. Valuable activities are presented that help address youth development, team building, communication and much more so that leaders can effectively relate to the youth they serve.

The real value to OAC is that youth experience first-hand the awesome beauty and awe that nature provides. Developing this connection to the outdoors is critical in establishing comfort, awareness, knowledge and sensitivity with youth so they develop a concern and sense of stewardship toward the environment. There is little doubt that many of our attitudes and values develop during our childhood. It may well be our responsibility as adults to share these types of experiences with youth that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

The OAC workshop series begins this season in May with the orientation workshop and continues through the summer and fall with workshops in canoeing, kayaking and backpacking. These workshops are intended for adult volunteers and youth leaders who have a desire to provide these challenge activities to 4-H youth. You won’t find any conference center at these workshops; the outdoors is our classroom. Participants are immersed in the outdoor experience by tent camping, cooking their own meals, building fires and engaging in OAC activities and scenarios. A significant amount of learning takes place as a result.

Please view the OAC 2015 season brochure to check on dates and locations for each of the workshops. For more information, contact Nick Baumgart at 906-774-0363 or

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