North Country School & Camp Treetops Host 4th Annual Access Wild Places Program

Access Wild Places 2023 group celebrating their hike to Balanced Rocks.


North Country School & Camp Treetops Host 4th Annual Access Wild Places Program

Immersive Adirondack Experiences Connect Students with Nature & Inspiring Mentors

May 30, 2024 — North Country School & Camp Treetops are thrilled to announce the 4th annual Access Wild Places event June 3-7, on its Lake Placid campus in the heart of the Adirondack Park. This transformative program, designed to bring groups of students to experience the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, promises another year of intentional outdoor experiences and inspirational mentorship.

From its inception, Access Wild Places has been a student-driven idea, one that first took shape when former North Country School student, Inyene Bell, was taking a class as part of the School’s signature outdoors program. In her Outdoor Leadership class, a key component of the outdoors program, Inyene posed a simple yet profound question—’Why aren’t there more people in the outdoors who look like me?’ This insightful inquiry became the driving force behind Access Wild Places, which today aims to ensure everyone has access to wild places and can feel a sense of belonging when recreating in nature, honoring Inyene’s initial inspiration.

“Inyene’s original idea has blossomed into the powerful program Access Wild Places has become today. It opens young minds to the boundless opportunities the outdoors offer for exploration, learning, and self-discovery,” said Todd Ormiston, Executive Director of North Country School & Camp Treetops. “We’re thrilled to facilitate these meaningful connections with nature alongside incredible mentors like Mirna, Marian, and Yunga, who embody the spirit of inclusion in the outdoors.”

2024 ACCESS WILD PLACES MENTORS + SCHEDULE

This year’s program features mentors including outdoor educator and teacher Marcos Fernandez, outdoor activist Marian Perez of Rise Outside, ultrarunner Mirna Valerio, and current North Country School Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Yunga Webb. An alumni of both North Country School & Camp Treetops, Fernandez is a teacher at The Climbing Academy. Perez is an Afro-Latina outdoor educator and active member of Rise Outside, a nonprofit collective dedicated to diversifying outdoor spaces and creating an accessible environment for underrepresented communities. Valerio, known as “The Mirnavator,” is an author, activist, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year promoting inclusion and body positivity.

Highlights from this year’s schedule include:

  • Monday, June 3: Arrival and orientation, followed by a campfire talk and journal writing

  • Tuesday, June 4: Education about Adirondack waterways, a hike up Mt. Jo at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Loj with Marcos Fernandez, followed by rock climbing at the campus “Crag,” and an evening with Marian Perez

  • Wednesday, June 5: A day with Mirna Valerio, including waterfront activities and an evening talk

  • Thursday, June 6: Farm and garden activities on the North Country School & Camp Treetops campus farm, a theater workshop with Yunga Webb, and a campfire

  • Friday, June 7: Reflective takeaways and departure

“We’re excited to partner with North Country School on this incredible opportunity to connect young people with the transformative power of the Adirondacks,” said Julia Goren, Deputy Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, on her organization’s partnership with the program. “Programs like Access Wild Places align with our mission of building an educated, inspired community of wilderness stewards.”

FUNDING AND SUPPORT

This year’s Access Wild Places is made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Thanks to this support, the program will also include a winter component, further expanding opportunities for students to engage with nature throughout the year.

For more information about Access Wild Places, watch this video and visit northcountryschool.org/access-wild-places.

About North Country School & Camp Treetops

Located on the outskirts of Lake Placid, NY, Camp Treetops and North Country School sit on a 220-acre campus amid majestic mountain peaks in New York State’s Adirondack Park. Since 1921 and 1938 respectively, they have been nationally renowned for pioneering educational programs rooted in progressive practices and experiential learning. Both Camp and School guide children to engage in the natural world, take on intellectual and physical challenges in a nurturing community, and cultivate independence and creativity. For more information visit northcountryschool.org and camptreetops.org.

2024-06-01T17:22:26+00:00NCS Happenings|

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