Spotlights the people and partners of OACGC

Student Spotlight: OAC It’s a Family Affair

For Oyler senior, Daniel Barnes, Outdoor Adventure Clubs is a family affair.  Daniel lives in Lower Price Hill.  He has serval cousins and siblings that also go to Oyler or have graduated from Oyler in the past. His cousins Stephanie Barnes and Cassey Flower are also seniors and members of the school’s Outdoor Adventure Club.

Daniel joined OACGC because he enjoyed participating in the adventures last year and was looking forward to enjoying the adventures once again, alongside his family members.  His favorite trip was the kayaking adventure.

Daniel believes that adventures give students a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and have experiences they might not otherwise have exposure to.  He would encourage students to join for the new experiences that OACGC offers to students.

Thanks for being an OACGC ambassador, Daniel!

School Spotlight: Dawnielle Loves Giving Back

Dawnielle Crooks has a very unique relationship with Outdoor Adventure Clubs.  As a high school student at Hughes High School, Dawnielle took Government and Economics classes from OACGC Founder, Denny McFadden.  She also participated in the kayaking trips arranged by Denny as team building exercises for the students and teachers.  OACGC was born out of the love and excitement Denny witnessed in his students during these paddling trips.  After retiring from teaching, he created Outdoor Adventure Clubs to expand the outdoor recreational opportunities he’d been providing at Hughes to students across the Cincinnati Public Schools district.

After graduating from high school, Dawnielle attended Wright State University and IUPUI and earned a BA in Education.  Today, Dawnielle works as a 9th grade teacher and team leader at Western Hills High School.  She is married with two children.  Dawnielle recently became an advisor for OACGC at Western Hills, bringing her personal Outdoor Adventure Club experience full circle.

Dawnielle tells us she chose to volunteer as a Club Adviser because she really enjoyed her experience with Outdoor Adventure Clubs during a summer program she coordinated last year. It also allows her the chance to get more active and outside with her students as well.

Dawnielle said “OACGC has exposed my students to a variety of outdoor activities that some have never experienced. I have watched their appreciation of the outdoors grow through these amazing, free opportunities provided by OACGC”.

Are you interested in coordinating a summer program for your school or organization with Outdoor Adventure Clubs?  Just shoot us an email (  We’d love to talk about the opportunities for engaging your students with the great outdoors in the summer!

2017-09-11T14:12:25+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, School Spotlight|

Staff Spotlight: New Board Member Joins

OACGC is excited to announce the addition of Kim Albers to our Board to Directors!

Kim is an English Learner (EL) teacher for Newport Schools. She has lived abroad in New Zealand and Chile and was a ski instructor at Lake Tahoe, CA for five years – she is happiest when on an adventure in nature! With a passion for the outdoors and education, it was only a matter of time before Kim began collaborating with Outdoor Adventure Clubs.

She met Denny (Founder/Executive Director) randomly while working for Cincinnati Parks’ Explore Nature! program many years ago. They were reconnected when Newport HS became involved with OAC. Kim is inspired by how the program has provided so many adventures and activities for students. She is most impressed with the freedom and self-reliance that is placed on the students as they learn about themselves and their capabilities. One of her favorite memories was seeing a few students in particular work together to set up a tent for the first time on our end of the year campout in May of 2015.

Kim is looking forward to serving on the OACGC board so that she can contribute to the mission of Outdoor Adventure Clubs.  “I whole heartedly believe in the mission of OAC and want to help the program grow and continue to succeed”, she says.

Welcome to the Board, Kim!  We’re so happy to have you.

2017-09-11T14:12:30+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, Staff Spotlight|

Student Spotlight: Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams is in the 7th grade at Bellevue High School.  His favorite subjects include Math and English, and when he’s not at school he enjoys hanging out with friends and going places.  While Andrew has been on multiple adventures this year, his said, “my favorite trip was when we went to the Cincinnati Recreation Center because we got to go swimming, eat pizza, shoot basketball, and rock climb.”

Help support students like Andrew getting active and outdoors by supporting Outdoor Adventure Clubs.  With your help, Andrew can continue to engage with nature during our monthly adventures throughout his high school years.  Andrew said it best when told us “OAC is a great opportunity to exercise and have fun.”

School Spotlight: Withrow University High School

Withrow University High School has been a part of OACGC since the program’s inception in 2013.  In the three short years since, Withrow students have participated in over 300 adventures with OACGC.  Veteran Withrow advisor, Monique Screws, is to thank for much of the club’s success.  Monique is joined this year by Jacklyn Moon, a college access advisor working through the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative’s AmeriCorps program.  With support and encouragement from Monique and Jacklyn, Withrow’s Outdoor Adventure Club is sure to see another 300 experiences in no time!

See Image – Withrow students climbing the rock wall at University of Cincinnati Recreation Center during one of our adventures.

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, School Spotlight|

Staff Spotlight: Jean Wykoff

I am a recent retired Speech/Language Pathologist of 37 years in the public school system.  Thirty five of those years were spent at Madeira City Schools.   I always knew after retirement I wanted to continue working with students.  One day I saw a flyer at The Benchmark Outfitters store for the Outdoors Adventure Club and that started my new adventures with kids.

My first outdoor adventure was at the Cincinnati Nature Center with 60 plus kids.  The day was filled with laughter as the kids climbed trees, splashed in the creek and bonded with each other. I knew then I found the match I was looking for.  I cannot wait for Saturday of each week for another connection with these kids…it is so fulfilling.  The staff at OAC is friendly and dedicated to each student’s success.  When interacting with the students of OAC, they talk about how they want to come back after graduation and become a staff member so they can continue this wonderful program.

Thank you OAC for everything you do for students!!!!!

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, Staff Spotlight|

Partner Spotlight: RRT

This month we wanted to shine the light on a home town favorite, Roads Rivers and Trails. RRT is a well respected locally owned adventure outfitter that started back in 2010. They supply some of the highest quality gear and apparel around and they’re staff are experts in both the gear they sell and the adventures they enjoy (they call themselves gear ninjas!).

RRT is not your everyday retailer. They specialize in all things outdoors. Whether you need equipment for kayaking, camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing or other adventure needs the RRT staff and owners have the experience to help. RRT offers kayak demos, pack shakedowns, gear lists and adventure planning along with seminars and classes year round.

They have a full slate of informational sessions ready to launch in 2016.  Consider joining them for “Kayak Traveling-Simplifying the Breathtaking”, “Wilderness First Responder”, “Hiking the Red River Gorge”, or any of the other event listed on their Facebook page.

Student Spotlight: Kadriesha is an Adventurer at Heart

We couldn’t wait to spotlight Kadriesha Glover, a junior at Zoo Academy who resides in Clifton. This is Kadriesha’s second year with OACGC and she has never missed an outing.  She loves all the activities especially ice skating and we love her enthusiasm – she’s truly an adventurer at heart. When asked what she has gained from OACGC, she replied eagerly, “I’ve gained some great outdoor experience. I learned how to fix a bike tire, how to bird watch, how to kayak, and what to do when camping.” She added that she would like to tell other students about OACGC. “I would tell other students that it’s a fun experience and you learn fun things to do outdoors.”

After high school Kadriesha plans to go to BGSU to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design with aspirations to land a job in the design industry.  Thanks to her experiences in OACGC she also wants to travel and seek new adventures before settling down, getting married and starting a family. Sounds like a good plan. We wish her the best.

School Spotlight: Aiken New Tech

Home of the Falcons, Aiken New Tech is a one-to-one technology school, where each student has access to an electronic device at all times. Students are co-taught math and engineering courses as well as an ever expanding visual arts program. Focusing on technology during the week, Aiken students welcome the opportunity to unplug for the weekend and enjoy some time outdoors with OACGC. The Falcons averaged over 18 participants per adventure this fall! The club’s success can easily be attributed to Aiken’s co-advisors, Danielle Boyle and Stephanie Weaver.

Danielle Boyle

I’m from Springfield, Ohio–also hometown of John Legend! My family and I moved to Mason, Ohio when I was 14 years old for my father’s job at Ford Motor Co. I attended Princeton High School, and then the University of Cincinnati. Through my service year with AmeriCorps and the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, I was placed at Aiken! I serve as the CYC Ohio College Guide, providing college access information and knowledge students need and deserve in order to make educated decisions and plans for their future after high school. My favorite memory/adventure of this past fall, was going hiking at the Cincinnati Nature Center! The weather was perfect that day and our students really enjoyed exploring the trails, climbing trees and creating their own signature banana s’mores!

Stephanie Weaver

I grew up in New Jersey until age 14 and moved to Ohio where I graduated from Olentangy High School. I moved to Cincinnati after graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Psychology and Political Science. My first position after graduation was through AmeriCorps as CYC Ohio College Guide. Through this program I was placed at Aiken New Tech 3 years ago and have worked there since. Last year, I took a position with a different CYC program known as Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates. Currently I am a JCG Career Specialist at Aiken New Tech where I help seniors transition from high school to the world of work and help them develop a career path. My favorite OAC memory has been ice skating at Fountain Square. At first, a few of our student could barely stand on the ice and by the end of the day they were doing laps around me! I am excited for all the upcoming trips, especially zip lining!

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, School Spotlight|

Staff Spotlight: Drequan Loves His Work

This month’s Staff Spotlight goes to Drequan Foster, one of our favorite team members.  Drequan has been with Outdoor Adventure Clubs for several years now. First as a student participant while attending Withrow University High School, and now as an Outdoor Specialist.

While attending Withrow, Drequan enrolled in his school’s chapter of Outdoor Adventure Clubs and never looked back. When asked what he thought of his time as a student with Outdoor Adventure Clubs Drequan proclaimed gleefully, “I really loved all the adventures and the amazing experiences it gave me.”

After graduating high school in 2014, Drequan enrolled in University of Cincinnati’s Construction Management program. “I enjoy classes here at UC, especially physics because it incorporates math while teaching me how the world works,” he said with earnest.

When he’s not studying or in class, Drequan fills his spare time the way you would expect, working out, hanging out, and playing video games. He’s quick to mention that working out is good for your body and mind.

“I decided to join Outdoor Adventure Clubs after high school because I couldn’t get enough of the fun activities and great experiences and I wanted to help others get involved with the program so they could share some of these amazing moments as well.  Outdoor Adventure Clubs has raised my awareness of nature and helped me understand more about good stewardship and how to preserve our natural resources so they don’t get destroyed.

My favorite adventure with OACGC was the kayaking trip because I love the teamwork. The beautiful combination of trees, sky and water make an exquisite landscape. After seeing such beauty, all I wanted to do was share it with others, which is why I want to help people get involved with the outdoors.”

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, People & Partners, Staff Spotlight|