Brookings, SD – Recently, local youth organizations had their own ribbon cutting at the Outdoor Adventure Center of South Dakota. The Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) will be an activity hub for informal hands-on outdoor and environmental education. The center already is offering youth programs in archery, bb gun, air pistol and air rifle. Youth can participate in those activities through either 4-H Shooting Sports or OAC youth programs. In addition, youth programs will also be offered as part of the “Get Active. Stay Active.” kids program. “While it looks like the kids are just having fun”, said Nancy Beech, OAC program coordinator, “we are actually using youth development principles to increase youth confidence; expand their knowledge of the environment; develop skill sets in outdoor activities and become more physically active.
One workshop that is accomplishing all of the above goals is geocaching. Youth participants use a GPS unit and coordinates to find “treasures” throughout Dakota Nature Park. However, to do that, they have to walk throughout the park. One mother commented her child really enjoyed the geocaching workshop and that they had “walked a long ways”. “That, would be the point”, said Beech. “The youth are getting exercise without realizing it”. A full program of outdoor activities is being developed for later this fall.
The Outdoor Adventure Center will become part of a national network of prestigious archery facilities connected through the Easton Sports Development Foundation, one of the center’s national donors. Doug Engh, Easton Foundations Outreach Director, attended the open house and spoke with community donors.