“This is my first time camping… (applause from her fellow course participants) but in the last couple of years I have developed an appreciation for nature and see the benefits for kids as it pertains to their health. So I’m pretty excited to learn more and then get more youth outdoors.” This is how Judy introduced herself and explained her level of experience in the outdoors.
In late June Judy and 12 other participants from six organizations in the Chicago metro area became “CLIC certified” youth workers, completing the first ever Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s weekend-long Camping Leadership Immersion Course training, with the support of two Outdoors Empowered Network staff instructors. Participating organizations included Mujeres Latinas En Accion (a women and youth rights advocacy organization), Chicago Park District, The Field Museum, the Chicago Police Department and more.
The course was a whopping success highlighted by a thunderstorm that rolled in on Saturday night, giving us a show as Forest Preserve Program Specialist Brian Arnoldt taught about campfire building.
These pictures are taken from a video shot during the storm. As you can imagine, we were happy for the picnic pavilion! We were also happy the storm passed and left a calm soft rain that lulled us to sleep in our new tents. We all slept well!
Students learned by doing. Our hike through the mud puddles and out to the bike trail got everyone acquainted with the trails and forested lands around the campground. After making it to a creek we stopped at a bridge and handed off bandanas, symbolically representing the leadership that one half of the group passed to the next.
Brian Arnoldt from the Forest Preserve introduced the training by saying, “This is the first half where you learn how to camp with your groups. The second half is where you bring your groups back out here.”
We at Outdoors Empowered Network are proud to set forth into action the process of training these mentors, scout leaders and gang intervention specialists. These amazing and passionate adults who know their communities and youth best, are now ready take kids out and away from the concrete, the screens, the sirens, and into the fireflies and crickets of Camp Sullivan.
A huge thanks to our corporate sponsors, Eureka!, Columbia, GSI, Thermarest and Camp Chef, who gave gear that will be used this summer and for years to come in the Camp Sullivan gear library.
For more pictures, check out our Facebook Page.
To learn more about the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's CLIC Program, check out their website, which includes information on the training and gear library program, and resources about all FIVE new campgrounds that are opening this summer!