Green Tech High Charter School Students in Albany, New York Get Youth Outdoors and Prepared for “Green Youth Leadership”
Brother Yusuf Burgess, Outdoor Afro Contributor
Black Forest Lodge – Cornwall, NY
This summer the Green Tech High Charter School’s BOYS OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP TEAM (B.O.L.T.) was successful at getting 18 participants certified in Outdoor Leadership by the Sierra Club. This Outing Leadership Workshop was held at the Black Forest Lodge, in New York’s Catskill Mountains. This place is worth visiting just for the locale and the lodge itself. It’s close to Bear Mountain and West Point, NY. Both amazing locations in themselves. The lodge had a huge outdoor deck, good spacious rooms accommodating up to 8 per room and compostable toilets! The lodge sleeps 60 and is a “green” home for everything from research symposia to yoga retreats.
The Sierra Outing Leadership Workshop is the nationally-managed program charged with developing new and seasoned leaders from Local (Group & Chapter Outings), Inner City Outings (ICO), and National Outings (the trips listed in Sierra magazine). Brand new recruits with no program affiliation were welcomed as well. This workshop fulfills the Sierra Club’s OLT 101 and OLT 201 requirements.
The Green Tech High students, teachers and volunteers learned how to plan safe and successful multi-day outings, enhance their competence and confidence in leading groups, and enhance their competence and confidence in achieving good group behavior and further their awareness and involvement in the conservation work of the
Sierra Club. Other topics included Conservation through Outings, Trip Planning, Outings Nuts and Bolts, First Aid Kits, Leave No Trace and an Emergency Response Scenario. This workshop was designed to focus more on the interpersonal skills associated with outdoor leadership. These “softer” skills are vital to being a successful leader. These skills include learning how to manage your group, how to create a positive group dynamic, and how to practice a safety-based planning and delivery of an outing.
As the Family Intervention Specialist at Green tech High and one of the lead coordinators of the school’s “Going Green” initiative, we were a group of 45+ Sierrans from all over the tri-state with two purposes in mind for this weekend- to learn all we can about how to lead a successful hike and hopefully to take a hike or two ourselves, being that we were surrounded by unspoilt nature.
All of the young students from Green Tech High and the teachers and volunteers had a fun time outdoors and a great experience in the workshops with the Sierra Club trainers. We ended Saturday by learning about David Brower – Sierra Club’s first executive director. The movie we saw on how David Brower and others reinforced all the great work Sierra Club has hisoritcally been involved in, including the nationalization of the 10 parks and seashore including Redwoods, Pt. Reyes and Cascades.
Our next step is to structure an Eco-Outings Club at Green Tech High and invite our incoming 9th graders, the 8th graders from the Middle Schools and their parents to “Get Outdoors And Learn”
In conclusion, we encourage all to check out any local outdoor activities in your area. There are plenty of organizations and clubs, there’s always of course sierraclub.org. Lets invite others to the restorative power of the outdoors and move forward on a mission to “Leave No Child Inside”.