There are many opportunities for an adult to learn how to safely and kindly tread the wilderness road, overnight camp in a state park, or take their family on a hike in the local forestry, but they must seek them out. They must find the right books that teach them how to take the TV or movie view of going into the woods and turn that into a real trip, with real goals and outcomes.
The goal of ACA's Outdoor Living Skills Program is to help teach millions of children while they are children, so when they go as older teens or adults, into the "wilderness" or just into the "local park" they treat our precious natural resources with respect. This program manual helps camp counselors, youth leaders, or teachers take their knowledge of safe, environmentally responsible outdoor living skills and make it fun, exciting and reward focused for children. Children test themselves, pass required skill tests, and earn colorful patches on the road to successful completion of the five levels of the ACA Outdoor Living Skills Program. The American Camping Association is a recognized partner with the U.S. Forest Service under the Conservation USA Program and has signed a letter of understanding with the Forrest Service.
Much of that language focuses on our commitment to continuing to operate the OLS program and update and provide the materials that allow camp counselors and youth leaders nationally to teach children sound environmentally responsible outdoor living skills. ACA's Outdoor Living Skills program uses four books to create a total curriculum for anyone who wants to teach children how to safely use the outdoors. The program is presented in five progressive levels of difficulty giving it a wide age and interest range, it can be used to teach everyone from elementary school age children to teens or even adults how to 'live in the outdoors.' Each level has a brightly colored patch that can be used as a visible indicator of their successful completion of a particular level.
The four books and their job within the program are:
- Outdoor Living Skills Instructor's Manual
- The overview piece, written for the program developer and instructor who teaches adults how to teach children.
- Outdoor Living Skills Program Manual
- Primary skills book to be used by the adult who will teach the children/participants.
- Outdoor Living Skills Field Guide: Level 1-3
- This book goes into the field with the adult teaching children in the field. Outlines requirements and contains samples, diagrams, handouts, and activities. Info for level 1 through 3.
- Outdoor Living Skills Field Guide: Level 4 & 5
- This book goes into the field with the adult teaching children in the field. Outlines requirements and contains samples, diagrams, handouts, and activities. Info for level 4 and 5.