Camp Director Diaries — Outside Adventure Kids

Camp Director Diaries -- Outside Adventure Kids

The Outside Adventure Kids Multi-Sport Skills Day Camp offers fun outdoor pursuits each day with an emphasis on developing friendships, understanding risks and learning. We interviewed camp director Paul Dreyer about his beginnings and goals with the camp. 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started the camp?

I have worked in the world of education for almost twenty years.   Born in South Africa, I moved to the United States as a small child, and have continued to seek out travel, adventure, and education ever since. A self-proclaimed “jack-of-all-trades,” I have been teaching, leading, and counseling groups in remote, outdoor settings around the world for over fifteen years.  Some of the schools and programs where I have directed efforts include the Watershed School, the Cottonwood InstituteHigh Mountain InstituteWhere There Be Dragons, and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).   For the past ten years, I have been supporting Avid4 Adventure (Boulder, CO) in various ways.  This year, I began working full time with Avid4 Adventure to direct a new partnership with Outside Magazine and the opening of Outside Adventure Kids in the SF Bay Area.

Ten years ago, Avid4 Adventure was founded to help kids get outside and to promote a lifetime of healthy choices.  “KIDS, COME INSIDE, YOUR DINNER’S GETTING COLD!!” Twenty years ago, these words echoed across America millions of times each evening. Today, this phrase is much more seldom heard. Parents are concerned as they witness the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that kids are adopting. Mounting time in front of video games, computers, and TV, reduced PE in school and a drop in team sports participation are leading to a generation of kids that are less physically active and more overweight. Avid4 was founded to address this growing concern by delivering a spectrum of outdoor recreation non-competitive activities for kids and families that are designed to offer logistic relief for today’s busy parents.

With our new partnership and expansion into Marin, Outside Adventure Kids brings the same mission and goal – To get kids outside in order to combat increasing childhood obesity, increasing screen-time and decreasing physical activity, decreasing connection to nature.

Are there any special lessons or experiences you are trying to provide during the camp?

Of course, we want kids to have an incredibly FUN time in the outdoors.  We want kids to truly enjoy climbing and hiking and biking and paddling so they will want to keep getting outside, doing more of all of those activities – with their friends and with their families.  And, we also overlay all of those fun, adventure sports with an incredibly intentional educational progression.  For 7-9 year olds, our focus is on confidence.  For 10-12 year olds, our focus is on teamwork.  For younger kids, we focus on discovery and engagement, and with teenagers, we focus on leadership development.  Throughout our progression, we try to develop long-lasting grit and gratitude.

Two other components of all OAK camps are: (1) Leave No Trace (LNT) outdoor ethics – Kids learn not only how to play in the outdoors, but also how to protect it; and (2) Judgment and decision-making skills – We precede activities with a discussion about potential risks and how to minimize or avoid them, thus encouraging participants to develop understanding and judgment. 

How did you choose to start your camp in Marin?  

We wanted to expand Avid4 Adventure out of Colorado.  After investigating various different regions we settled on Marin as the best first place to expand for a handful of reasons.  I think these are the top 3 reasons…. One, Marin has incredible recreational resources out it’s backdoor.  We are committed to giving kids real and true outdoor experiences and we try to limit how much we need to drive  to get to those activity locations.  Two, Marin, and the entire San Francisco area, has a population of people that generally value healthy living and outdoor lifestyles.  And three, we saw a niche here – although there are many camps and summer opportunities in the Bay Area, we did not see a camp providing the type of programming that we will be offering.

Anything else you’d like to add?

For over 15 years, my community has been based in Boulder, CO.  Now, I have begun to split time between Colorado and the Bay Area of San Francisco, and specifically Marin County.  I feel such gratitude to now be a part of two incredible communities.  I am so excited to more deeply become a part of this new community of mine.  One way I know that I will be able to do that is by sharing Outside Adventure Kids with the kids and families here.  I’m so excited to meet all of you.  See you outside!


For more information about Outside Adventure Kids and to register for camp visit their listing on ActivityHero!

Camp Director Diaries -- Outside Adventure Kids

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I am blogging on all things summer camp.
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