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Lessons from Youth Outdoor Leaders | Part One

By: Manchester Academic Charter Middle School students

Twice a week this past Fall, aspiring outdoor leaders put their skills to the test during their elective leadership course with Venture Outdoors. Middle school students at Manchester Academic Charter Middle School, housed in the newly renovated Museum Lab in Allegheny Commons, learned about group dynamics, incident scene management, and how to properly give a paddle talk, among other skills. The students also had the chance to enjoy the outdoors for themselves by kayaking, biking, geocaching, hiking and indoor BMX biking at the Wheel Mill. Here’s what they had to say in their reflections of the course:

My favorite outdoor activity:
• I do activities anywhere.
• Playing football.
• Snowball fighting.
• Walking around and playing outside with friends.

Things I learned about the outdoors:
• First Aid is important because it can be useful in emergency situations, you must be prepared.
• I learned how to make a fire, and fire need to have oxygen, wood, and air.
• I learned how to kayak.
• You can use worms for bait (Jordan).
• Safely cast by putting the rod in water and turn it.

Things I learned about myself:
• I am a physical person.
• I am a visual learner.
• I learn best from someone explaining and demonstrating it to me.
• I never caught a fish.
• I like burning and eating the s’mores.


“I learned leadership by stepping up

when everyone is doing the wrong thing.”


What I learned about being a leader:

• I show leadership by stepping up when everyone is doing the wrong thing.
• I show leadership by helping and motivate others.
• I show leadership by showing kindness to people and helping people (Makiyah).
• I helped people by give them things if needed.

Things I learned about life:
• Be respectful to the community and make sure you leave it the way you found it.
• Don’t interrupt when others speaking.
• Have fun but don’t play too much.
• Be kind and respectful.
• Treat others how you want to be treated (Makiyah).
• Never quit when you start something (Makiyah).

Other neat facts I learned:
• A great white shark can weigh up to 2000 pounds!


Maybe one day you’ll learn new outdoor skills from these up-and-coming outdoor leaders, who are now equipped with the knowledge to share with their family, friends and community. Congratulations to the students who successfully completed the Fall course – we look forward to seeing you grow!

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