Outdoor Education Center Activities

Our programs are divided into four main areas, making it easy for trip leaders to align activities to their goals and objectives for the group.

Trips can be planned to focus on one or multiple areas.

TEAMBUILDING

The center offers several classes and activities that teach communication, confidence, leadership, and other important skills.

Choices include student favorites such as:

  • Action Socialization Exercises (ASEs)
  • Low Ropes Course
  • Teams Course
  • Skit Night
  • “World Famous” Egg Drop™

 

Click the tabs below to read about the fun for each activity.

A Pok-O favorite, these varied teambuilding games were developed by the British Army in the aftermath of the First World War to promote leadership skills and improve group dynamics.

They come in many different forms and make a great ice-breaker for a group’s first afternoon at the Center. ASEs can be facilitated inside as well, making them a good inclement weather option.

Our Low Ropes Course builds confidence by challenging individual students to step outside their comfort zones, either by entering the pitch-black “Bear’s Den,” or negotiating various obstacles such as the “Elvis Walk” or “Earthquake Bridge.” This activity makes for a great team building experience as participants learn to help each other through varied challenges.

The layout of our course allows for up to 50 students to participate at the same time. The Low Ropes course is highly recommended as an ice breaker activity for groups arriving before 2:00 PM.

For groups with a limited amount of time (less than one day) and who want to have our full team building experience, the Low Ropes Course can be paired with the Teams Course.

This course is composed of individual elements arranged in a circle around our Low Ropes Course. In tackling these “problems,” students learn to appreciate both the importance of teamwork and the talents of individuals.

Trust, communication, and problem solving are all emphasized. Obstacles include traditional favorites such as All-A-Board and Spider’s Web.

Students will release their inner actor or actress in this theatrical activity that emphasizes teamwork, creativity, and just plain fun. Each field group receives a topic and a random assortment of humorous props.

Students work together to create a skit that involves everyone in their group, and utilizes all of their equipment. The Pok-O staff will give a few performances of their own between the students’ skits.

This activity is especially valuable for groups from Quebec working on their English language skills.

Students work together in their field groups to design and build a device that will protect an egg dropped from eight feet using only drinking straws, tape, and paper.

They also create and perform a commercial to sell their product. The evening is kept lively with costumes, music, a dance party, and opportunities to earn additional tickets to purchase more building materials.

Older groups are presented with additional challenge of budget allocation. And, it’s a great language workshop for Quebecois groups.

NATURAL SCIENCE

Hibernation, food chains, and watersheds are only a few of the numerous topics covered in our science classes. Learning about nature is exciting and engaging in classes that provide plenty of hands-on opportunities and active exercises for demonstrations.

Classes include:

  • Rattlesnake Mountain Hike with Natural History (Pok-O Patch)
  • Sensory
  • Pond Ecology
  • Nature Walk
  • Astronomy
  • Winter Ecology
  • Bird Watching
  • Wildlife Ecology
  • Outdoor Ethics

Click the tabs below to learn more about each class.

Students approach the summit on a picturesque old logging road closed to motor vehicles. Along the way, instructors discuss the history of the surrounding land and the impact logging has had on the delicate ecosystem.

The last quarter of the hike follows a steep, rocky trail to the top. The view from Rattlesnake is one of the best in the area, encompassing Lake Champlain, the Adirondack High Peaks, Burlington Vermont, and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

This panorama will provide the backdrop for a geological lesson on the formation of Lake Champlain as well as Long Pond.

A student favorite, this class begins with an introduction to the senses through hands-on activities. Participants will then have an opportunity to follow a sensory trail while blindfolded and in silence.

The activity ends with an instructor-led debrief in which the students can discuss the lessons learned when they were unable to use their dominant senses.

A guided tour of our nature trail network accompanied by an informal discussion.

Topics which may be covered include animal tracks and scat, the natural history of the Champlain Valley, land use in Adirondack Park, local flora, logging and forest fires.

Using observation, simulation games, and animal identification, students investigate topics including adaptation, hibernation, and winter tracking.

Through discussion and simulation games, students learn about the interrelationships found in a forest ecosystem.

Topics include food chains, predator-prey relationships, resource use, and adaptation.

On the banks of Long Pond, students use direct observation, and catch-and-release studies to become acquainted with the pond’s ecosystem.

Topics include watersheds, macro-invertebrates, food webs and ecosystem dynamics.

Participants will learn under the night sky by constructing a scale model of our solar system, spacing out the planets across the Center’s property.

Regardless of the weather, students will learn how to read a star chart and identify key constellations.

A great way to connect with nature, Students will first learn a few birding basics such as how to use a field guide and work with binoculars.

Either through a quiet walk in the woods or from the comfort of our indoor seating areas, students will practice their observation and identification skills.

Students will use our 300 acre wilderness to fuel their discussions about the proper and improper way people should interact with their natural surroundings.

Camping, wildlife respect, waste disposal and other “Leave-No-Trace” outdoor skills and ethics will be considered.

This class is also an extreme weather option, as it can be taught indoors.

LIVING HISTORY

All of our classes are aligned to New York State learning standards.

Travel back in time at our 1812 Homestead and let history come alive. Learn from Master MacCready in our school house, practice pioneer skills, and role play in our Under Ground Railroad and Revolutionary War demonstrations.

Classes include:

  • 1812 Homestead Demonstration
  • Underground Railroad
  • Animal Feeding
  • Revolutionary War TimeQuest

 

Click the tabs below to learn more about each activity.

The keystone of our living history program and one of our most popular classes, the 1812 Homestead Demonstration teaches essential pioneer skills on a working farm and museum.

A typical trip includes a blacksmithing demonstration, an interactive woodworking class, hearth side baking at the Inn, candle making, and a lesson in our authentic one-room school house, old Essex County no. 4, with the infamous School Master MacCready.

Social Studies Standards 1.1-4; English Language Arts Standard 1.1

A role-playing activity that takes place at the 1812 Homestead. Students play the part of run-away slaves, while teachers and chaperones serve as their conductors. The Pok-O staff fills in as abolitionists, bounty hunters, court marshals, and more.

The “slaves” must rotate through a series of stations where they answer questions about the history of slavery in America while avoiding capture by the bounty hunters. Students learn firsthand the dangers of being a slave trying to find freedom across the Canadian border.

The evening ends with an in-depth debrief about their experience and a discussion about slavery today.

Social Studies Standards 1.1, 1.2

Join our instructors as they do their morning chores and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about and help feed and care for our pigs, sheep, and horses.

Not all animals may be present, but all will be friendly.

Science Standards 4.1-6

This interactive American history class, which takes place at the 1812 Homestead asks students to take an active role in deciding the outcome of the Revolutionary War.

Students will interact with different characters who have drastically different points of view about the “current” conflict. In addition to teaching facts about the 18th century, Rev War Sim is designed to demonstrate history’s subjectivity.

Social Studies Standards 1.1, 1.2

WILDERNESS ADVENTURE

Whether skiing around campus, canoeing on Long Pond, hiking the four Pok-O-Patch mountains, or heading into the wilderness for rock climbing, participants will practice new techniques while exploring the Adirondack region.

Activities offers multiple options with each providing a unique experience:

  • Hiking
    • Bare Mountain Night Hike & Campfire
    • Sugarloaf Mountain Hike (Pok-O Patch)
    • Rattlesnake Mountain (Pok-O Patch)
    • Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain Hike (Pok-O Patch)
    • Adirondack High Peak Hikes
  • Camping
    • Adirondack Overnight
    • Campfire
    • Survival
  • Rock Climbing
    • The Crux – Indoor Rock Climbing Center
    • Field Rock Climbing in the Adirondacks
    • Ice Climbing
  • Boating
    • Long Pond Canoe Trips (local)
    • Adirondack Canoe Trips (on location)
    • Open Boating
  • Winter Adventures
    • Ice Climbing
    • Ice Fishing
    • Cross Country Skiing
    • Snow Tubing
    • Snow Shoeing
    • Winter Survival

 

Click the tabs below to learn more about each class.

Bare Mt Nighthike

Bare Mountain Night Hike & Campfire

For many students, this short but steep trek is the first step towards earning their Pok-O Patch. From the bare spot, there is a beautiful view of Long Pond with the Adirondack Mountains in the distance. While there, students learn about the history of the area. On moonlit nights, flashlights are not necessary. We often see at least one shooting star during our traditional five minutes of silence. This trip is typically followed by a campfire with marshmallows and a story or song.

 

Sugarloaf Mountain Hike (Pok-O Patch)

Sugarloaf, which lies just west of Long Pond, is the second highest Pok-O-Patch peak. The moderately steep trail traverses several different habitats. Students will pass through a red pine plantation, wetlands, young and old deciduous forests, a hemlock forest, and an open mixed deciduous forest before you reach the summit. The view from the top encompasses the farming community of Reber, Lake Champlain, and some of the Adirondack High Peaks.

 

Rattlesnake sunrise

Rattlesnake Mountain (Pok-O Patch)

Students approach the summit on a picturesque old logging road closed to motor vehicles. Along the way, instructors discuss the history of the surrounding land and the impact logging has had on the delicate ecosystem. The last quarter of the hike follows a steep, rocky trail to the top. The view from Rattlesnake is one of the best in the area, encompassing Lake Champlain, the Adirondack High Peaks, Burlington Vermont, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. This panorama will provide the backdrop for a geological lesson on the formation of Lake Champlain as well as Long Pond. (Sunrise optional also available)

 

Poke-O-Moonshine

Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain Hike (Pok-O Patch)

At 2,293 feet, Poke-O-Moonshine, is both the tallest and most difficult of the four Pok-O-Patch mountains, and is usually the last climbed. The trail rises over 1,000 vertical feet in 1.2 mi., past a lean-to and the ruins of a ranger’s cabin, to the historic fire tower on the summit. After students have climbed Bare, Rattlesnake, Sugarloaf, and Poke-O, they are awarded the prestigious Pok-O-Patch by reciting an oath, typically in front of their peers during their final meal at the Center.

 

Hiking

Adirondack High Peak Hikes

A powerful experience for many, a day spent in the Adirondack Wilderness is the best way to introduce students to the natural beauty of the Eastern forests. Many of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks (over 4,000’) can be climbed in a single day. Cascade and Phelps are good choices for younger, less experienced groups, while peaks such as Big Slide, Algonquin, or Giant offer stunning views and solid challenges for stronger students. Hurricane, Rooster Comb, and Noonmark Mountains, while slightly under the 4,000’ mark, also make for rewarding day trips. Hiking is a four-season activity for those who would like to learn how to snowshoe. Due to New York Department of Environmental Conservation regulations, groups are limited to 13 students, one chaperone, and one PMOEC instructor.

OvernightAdirondack Overnight

The best way to explore the Adirondacks, and an excellent way to improve teamwork and building self-confidence. Some of the more remote and difficult High Peaks can only be accessed by overnight groups. Students are advised to bring their own sleeping bags, thermal mats, and frame packs, although the Center does have a moderate supply of equipment.

 

 

CampfireCampfire

Toast marshmallows, sing songs, and listen to stories all by the glow of a campfire. An interactive and fun evening with presentations from PMOEC Staff and students. Teachers should feel free to join in too!

 

 

SurvivalSurvival

A favorite of students and instructors alike. Class begins with a discussion of creative techniques one can use to thrive far from civilization. Students may have the opportunity to build a shelter from objects found in the forest or learn the art of the one-match fire.

Rockclimbing IndoorsTHE CRUX – Indoor Rock Climbing Center

Built in 2009, THE CRUX: our state-of-the-art Climbing Center offers challenges for all ages. With nearly 40 foot walls, a bouldering cave and year round use, this is sure to become a favorite of students during all seasons. Whether you’re an expert or a novice climber, the center’s thirteen permanent anchors and its top rope system will ensure you have a safe and challenging climbing experience.

 

 

Fieldclimbing 3Field Rock Climbing in the Adirondacks

Our Climbing Center is great for confidence building and introducing the fundamentals, but it’s completely different from being out on real rock. Trained PMOEC instructors will set up top ropes at one of our myriad backcountry crags—King Philip’s Slab near Keene Valley is a favorite for beginners with plenty of routes in the 5.4-5.6 range. Classes can also include belaying and rappelling.

 

 

Ice Climbing 2Ice Climbing

A staff favorite, and a true mountaineering skill, ice climbing cannot be learned indoors. Your students will travel to a frozen waterfall site to learn the fundamentals of climbing ice in a controlled top-roped ascent. After becoming familiar with their axes and crampons, which the Center provides, students will climb on several different routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Students must be prepared to stay outside all day in Adirondack winter conditions.

Canoeing 2Long Pond Canoe Trips (local)

From how to pick a paddle to the “J” stroke, your students will learn the basics of canoeing before setting out to explore Long Pond. Possible destinations for their tour include Bird’s Rock, Marsh Landing, Tribal Rock, Tamarack Bay, and the North End Swamp. During breaks in the action, the instructor will give an introduction to the natural history of the area, including the formation of Long Pond at the end of the most recent Ice Age.

 

Canoeing tripAdirondack Canoe Trips (on location)

We can give your students the opportunity to practice the skills they learned during our Long Pond Canoe class by organizing a day trip on the Bouquet or AuSable rivers or a multi-day excursion canoe-camping on the Saranac Lakes.

 

 

Open BoatingOpen Boating

Your students will be able to explore the Cove area of Long Pond at their leisure in either a row boat or a canoe, while under the supervision of several PMOEC instructors. This is a great way to give suburban and metropolitan visitors an informal introduction to the outdoors. Open boating is our most popular Early Bird activity.

Ice Climbing 2Ice Climbing

Your students will travel to a frozen waterfall site to learn the fundamentals of climbing ice in a controlled top-roped ascent. After becoming familiar with their axes and crampons, which the Center provides, students will climb on several different routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Students must be prepared to stay outside all day in Adirondack winter conditions.

 

 

Ice FishingIce Fishing

A venerable North Country tradition and something to write home about. Many students will never get a chance to go ice fishing outside of Pok-O. Bait, holes, and rods are all provided – students simply need to “jig” the line.

 

 

Cross Country SkiingCross Country Skiing

After an equipment orientation and a quick lesson, students will have the opportunity to ski across Long Pond and explore our trail network on the other side of the pond in order to practice their new skills. This class is a prerequisite for certain winter expeditions, such as a ski-and-snowshoe ascent of a High Peak mountain.

 

 

SnowtubingSnow Tubing

Guaranteed to be a hit! Blue Boar’s Ski Bowl is fully equipped with a rope-tow and lights for night tubing. Your students will appreciate an evening of sliding downhill on giant inner-tubes after a long day of outdoor education.

 

 

SnowshoeingSnow Shoeing

After your students become acquainted with our modern, crampon-equipped, snow shoes, they will venture out onto Long Pond or up Sheep’s Hill or Bare Mountain. Snow shoeing is great exercise and a great introduction to the north woods in winter. The group may get to see animal tracks that are not visible during the warmer months.

 

 

Winter SurvivalWinter Survival

Take all of the components of our fall/spring survival class and add the harsh elements of winter. What you get is a class in which students learn how to build shelters out of packed snow, how to start and maintain a fire in the elements of the season and, most importantly, how to stave off hypothermia.

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Outdoor Education Center Today!

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Pok-O-MacCready Camps
1391 Reber Road, Willsboro, NY 12996

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

800.982.3538 (within the U.S.)
518.963.7656
[email protected]

ABOUT OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER

The Outdoor Education Center is located on over 400 acres of land with a beautiful Adirondack lake surrounded by forests, trails and wilderness.

The Center is within an hours drive of the High Peaks Adirondack Region, three miles from Lake Champlain and across the lake from Burlington, VT.

For the past 50 years our mission at the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center has been to create and encourage a sense of awe in the presence of nature, to build self confidence, to nurture self worth and to promote teamwork, communication and tolerance for students of all ages.

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