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Outdoor Education: Nature-based skills for any environment

COMPASS’ Outdoor Education program works to provide an environment of safety for youth and families to explore natural landscapes. Our goal is to make the outdoors more accessible, to cultivate a sense of belonging, and to teach nature-based skills that can increase self-sufficiency and help restore healthy relationships.

Here at COMPASS, we modify trauma-informed practices to gently guide students and families into a deeper nature connection that awakens the living world around them.

The purpose of the COMPASS Outdoor Education Program is achieved by adhering to principles and standards that are developmentally informed and biologically respectful when interacting with the uniquely-abled youth and families that COMPASS serves, both in our school and in the community. Our approach is a unique blend of:

  • Nature Mentoring
  • Adventure-based Programming and Games
  • Attachment-Based Perspectives
  • Trauma-informed Practices

At the heart of our vision of healing for youth and families, is the belief that Nature is and should be accessible by all. Through our professional experiences, we realize that complex and toxic social realities keep all kinds of people disconnected from natural resources in their areas.

We work with COMPASS’s diverse families to overcome cultural and economic barriers to provide equal access of shared, public lands. We provide:

  • Therapeutic, educational, and cultural programs.
  • Transportation to national and state forests, local conservancies, and other natural landscapes
  • Guided activities for families, groups, and individuals
  • Overnight adventures
  • Partnerships with local outdoors organizations to maximize youth access to a full range of equipment and provide an introduction to the outdoor industry

Most of the necessary outdoors equipment is provided to participants free of cost for each trip through our partnership with AMC Youth Opportunities Program.

“I haven’t used my imagination like this since kindergarten, and I am working harder than in gym class.”
— Student participant

“I had no thoughts and it was beautiful!”
— Student participant after sitting alone in the forest.

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