Special Guest Blog Post by Neyssa Hays, with Outdoor Education Adventures

Seedlings, Sprouts, and Saplings … Outdoor Education Adventures (OEA) is pleased to announce that we are expanding our summer offerings by bringing on a third educator. Kindergarten teacher, Heidi Hoskins, will be joining us this summer, allowing us to offer three age ranges: 4 – 6.5 year olds, 6.5 – 9 year olds, and 9 – 12 year olds for most of our full-week summer programs (for more information about Heidi, please visit our Staff page).

The Seedlings 4 – 6.5 year old cohort has three options, which will allow parents to register for a camp that is appropriate for their child’s age and energy levels. Parents may register their Pre-k through 1st grade child for either a full week of camp that runs from 9-3:00, a MWF option from 9-3:00, or a MWF mornings only option from 9:00-noon. This cohort will allow the littles to slow down when they need to without the bigger kids getting antsy about waiting.

In the Sprouts cohorts, kids who have completed 1st grade through kids who will be in 4th grade next school year will have their own cohort, as will kids entering grades 5 – 7, the Saplings. Last summer we realized a lot of our older kids were needing experiences geared more to their age, and over the fall and winter several parents asked us what we were going to do for them this coming summer. We created the Wilderness Explorers Club (WE Club), which is for kids ages 11-13 and focuses on wilderness survival skills as well as natural resource science. WE Club members decided they wanted club officers and structure, so we’re also teaching them how to run meetings and other “adulting” skills. This club filled up quickly, and parents were again asking for more, so here we are.

Our Saplings cohort for ages 9-12 will act as a bridge between summer camp and the WE Club. In this summer camp program, Saplings will spend time being encouraged to learn through guided free exploration and playing games. By contrast, WE Club members are given more formal lessons and tests on the skills they’re supposed to be practicing.

Click HERE to Register!


Neyssa holds a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Oregon State University and a degree in Russian from Portland State University. She has worked in the natural resources field since 2004 as a park ranger, naturalist, and fisheries biologist assistant as well as an educator for the Oregon Zoo and Portland Public Schools.

Neyssa grew up in various small towns in north Oregon, from Baker City to Carlton, running around in the woods getting muddy and eating wild plants. She lived in Portland for most of her adult life before returning to Carlton with her husband and two children in 2014. Her time in Portland solidified her love of the outdoors and convictions that time in nature is healing. She believes firmly that all people should have lots of wilderness time in their lives.