The Northwest College outdoor recreation department is working with middle and high schools to bring more awareness of the college’s offering in the fields of outdoor recreation. The connection …
The Northwest College outdoor recreation department is working with middle and high schools to bring more awareness of the college’s offering in the fields of outdoor recreation. The connection might even spark the kids’ interest in outdoor recreation careers.
Last year, Cody High School’s Outdoor Club contacted Keith McCallister, assistant professor of health, outdoor, and physical education. The high school was looking to build a training wall for use in the winter and wanted to know more about what was needed to make that happen.
“That kind of got our brains working about how we could work together,” McCallister said.
The college can help out the club by furthering their technical skills and introducing the students to the NWC outdoor program, which offers a climbing wall instructor certification through the Climbing Wall Association. It’s a national certification and a possible resume tool for finding an outdoor recreation related job in the future.
Additionally, the students in the college program gain practical leadership experience by teaching the high school students.
The program provides initial education for students planning careers teaching and leading in outdoor recreation jobs. The foundation the students receive in the program prepares them to transfer to universities for their bachelor degree studies.
“Sadly, most people, even students on our campus, don’t know the outdoor program is here,” McCallister said.
Carter Schutzman is among the students in the Cody High School Outdoor Club. He has friends who go climbing and the club is giving him the skills to climb with them.
“I’m glad to be part of it,” he said.
McCallister is looking to connect with Powell High School students as well. PHS doesn’t have an outdoor club, but McCallister is looking to see if there might be potential for partnerships there, possibly through its physical education department.
McCallister has worked with the Powell Middle School’s Lifetime Fitness classes for the past several years to introduce those students to the climbing wall and ropes courses. They have also done a few other activities with the middle schoolers, such as cross country skiing, though it’s been over six years since they’ve been able to work with skis.
“We are continuing with that tradition, and this year we’ll have our students in the classroom at the middle school to teach the students about the equipment, then have them over to the climbing wall on campus to climb,” McCallister said.
With the high school students, McCallister might conduct some search and rescue exercises, putting transmitters in grocery stores to simulate the challenge of finding a victim in an avalanche. He’s previously done it with the college students around the college campus.
“Anything where we can get out and have fun and turn it into a learning experience,” he said.