The Board of Directors of Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati (OAC) is proud to announce the appointment of Kirsten MacDougal as their new Executive Director. Learn More About Kirsten Here.
For many years while teaching in the Cincinnati Public School district I facilitated an annual “team building” canoe trip for students and fellow teachers at Hughes High School. For a modest fee of $25.00, each student enjoyed transportation to and from the Little Miami River, a canoe to share with a classmate, and lunch at Lake Isabella Park at the end of our five-mile float. During those outdoor adventures I witnessed a number of amazing things happen among our students and staff.
At the onset of our put-in to the river, lots of kids and adults who had never paddled a canoe struggled mightily. Teams of students and staff crisscrossed from one bank to another as they tried to keep their boats upright and pointed downstream. Some became increasingly frustrated and discouraged when their repeated attempts proved futile. Eventually, however, the skills of each and every paddler improved. The farther downstream we progressed, the more capable and confident everyone became.
Along the route I witnessed an amazing transformation. Kids and adults alike who started the trip wondering whether or not they would even survive the float became successful paddlers. They learned to cooperate in navigating the still pools, the heart-racing rapids, and the shallow shoals.
Kids who could not even swim were seen jumping into the river from the rope swings that we found every mile or so along the river banks. Students and staff came to the rescue of other boaters in difficulty. Capsized canoes were righted and drained. Gear floating downstream was captured and returned its waterlogged owners. Skinned knees and knuckles were bandaged and the float continued.
By trip’s end, all had become proficient in maneuvering their boats downstream. More importantly, all had accomplished something many had never done before. They conquered their fears about an unknown and experienced something they may not have tried on their own.
As the students and staff exited the river at our designated take-out, their expressions and exclamations said it all. They had grown–as individuals and as a group–in so many ways!!!
My goal in establishing Outdoor Adventure Clubs for urban youth is to recreate this amazing opportunity for as many students as possible. Over the years I took hundreds of teens on such canoe trips, but there were always those for whom the $25.00 stipend was too great a sacrifice. Meals or bus fare often competed directly for their scare financial resources.
Consequently, many of our students never had the chance to share in our team building activities and the life-changing experiences they provided. I’m confident that by eliminating the fees and the logistical challenges associated with such field trips, students and teachers will seize upon the opportunity to participate in these valuable outdoor adventures.
Hopefully throughout the Greater Cincinnati region there will be “no child left indoors” because she or he lacks the financial means to participate in such an important life experience.
Denny McFadden, OAC Founder
So Far We’ve Provided Over
Adventures for Local Urban High School Students
Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati provides a safe place to have fun, explore, and connect with nature.
Young people today need to…
reconnect with and freely explore the natural world
engage in imaginative, unstructured play
disconnect from technology, decompress, and relax
try challenging activities that build self-esteem and confidence
Did You Know?
Every Adventure is FREE for students and chaperones.
Thanks to our generous partners, Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati is able to provide the equipment, training, supervision, transportation, and food for all participants at no cost to students or schools!
OAC was founded by a local school teacher who organized a kayak trip for his students and realized how important it is for young people in urban communities to see the beauty of nature. From that ‘first adventure’ OAC was born and the lives of so many local urban teens have been forever changed.
Our minds and bodies need to spend time in nature. However most of us lead lives that pull us indoors. Young people need to experience the outdoors now more than ever. The health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation and exercise are widely documented. New studies also clearly indicate the positive social-emotional, economic, and environmental impact that occurs when young people spend time in nature.