Outside Perspectives and Future Leaders youth spent May 14th geocaching and exploring wild and natural spaces in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY. Outside Perspectives co-founders, Shannon and Nicky met the group at the last stop on the 1 line, 242nd St., on a sunny Saturday morning. The day felt joyful as the youth soaked up the sun and practiced map and compass skills, played games, solved team challenges and devoured a picnic lunch on a high rocky outcropping overlooking the park. The Future Leaders were fully engaged offering their unique perspective on the challenges of the day.
“Turts”…Props for games
Chicken Eye’s Up!
Future Leaders used newly acquired map and compass skills to criss-cross the park finding hidden caches along the way. Geocaching, a treasure hunt found in countries around the world, requires individuals to use navigational skills to find “caches.” A typical cache is a waterproof container with small prizes or trinkets and a logbook. After signing the log, the cache is returned for the next hunter to find. Participants discussed finding other geocaches with friends in the future and some planned to try to hide new ones as well. Geocaching is a fun way to get outside and explore the city.
Using our map and compass skills.
The tiny log!
Found the Cache!!
Along the hunt we discovered some great old monuments and learned about the colorful local history. Did you know that critical New York City records were hidden in this overgrown burial vault during the Revolutionary War to avoid being destroyed by the British?
Youth also learned to identify some of the local wild edibles and potentially harmful plants. Below, Shannon teaches participants about garlic mustard and poison ivy.
Shannon talking about garlic mustard.
Watch out for Poison Ivy!
Outside Perspectives would like to thank Ferney Giraldo, Future Leaders’ Program Manager, for his dedication to supporting the Outside Perspectives partnership and for helping to make our day together happen. Outside Perspectives looks forward to our fall Expedition with Future Leaders!
Outside Perspectives Executive Director, Nicola Wood, was invited to present Saturday, April 30th to the World Challenge organization in Boston, Massachusetts. Nicola spoke about managing fear, anxieties, and eating difficulties while on expedition. World Challenge is the leading provider of life-changing school expeditions to remote and foreign locations around the world.
Here are a few of Nicola’s thoughts following the presentation. “I was humbled to present to such an amazing organization and was so excited to meet with the team leaders and teachers about to embark on their journeys. World Challenge is clearly working to support youth on a far deeper level than just providing them with an exciting adventure. It is so inspiring to be in the presence of like-minded folks who share in the ideals of experiential educational.”
With similar goals to Outside Perspectives, World Challenge expeditions have an international focus and are designed to develop important life skills, helping students to:
Hone teamwork and leadership skills
Gain confidence and self-esteem
Become more globally aware
Enhance employment prospects
World Challenge sponsored the conference for their Trip Leaders and Teachers to prepare them for their upcoming expeditions. A strong increase in fear, anxieties and eating difficulties amongst students has been noticed on courses and the organization is seeking positive and effective ways to support students who are struggling. Nicola, with a masters degree in social work and over a decade of experience working with youth on expeditions, had great insights on the subject. Nicola spoke about how to identify anxieties, how to mitigate stressors, and offered tools for responding to anxiety and stress in the field. She also fielded questions and shared her thoughts on why these increases are being witnessed.
Anxiety and stress are normal reactions to challenging and unusual situations that arise from time to time in our lives. Programs like World Challenge and Outside Perspectives provide adventure opportunities and support youth in learning to harness fear and anxiety in order to build resiliency. These organizations know that by pushing students outside their comfort zones they are giving them the tools they need to face a difficult and demanding world with flexibility and optimism. Encouraging youth into a wider world of experience builds self-confidence and can lead to transformative realizations about their capabilities.
Outside Perspectives wishes World Challenge all the best in the exciting and important work that lies ahead for them. They are clearly having huge impacts on the lives of the youth they work serve!