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What is Outdoor Lab?

Introduction to Outdoor Lab

A week-long residential camp experience can be one of the most transformational forms of experiential education a young person can receive and foster profound personal growth in students. Beyond the lessons in outdoor skills, natural history, communication, teamwork, and leadership that are part of virtually any outdoor experience, at Outdoor Lab, there is an underlying process through which the experience is rendered meaningful in the lives of the participants.

Outdoor Lab has been enriching the lives of sixth-grade and high school students in Jefferson County for more than 60 years. With more than 5,000 students served each year and over 400,000 alumni, Outdoor Lab is the longest continually running outdoor education program in the western United States. 

Outdoor Lab carefully integrates several proven youth development models, including experiential education, socio-emotional and life-skills learning, outdoor recreation, and mentorship. Our curriculum and program format work in tandem to help students realize their leadership potential and uncover personal, interpersonal, and social skills. Outdoor Lab provides opportunities for students to practice effective communication, teamwork, and goal setting in a challenging and awe-inspiring wilderness classroom.

Our Program Model

We are unique because we invest in "People, Partnerships, and Places." Our first and most important differentiator is that our students are supported, led, and mentored by caring teachers, program instructors, Interns, and young adults. This model ensures that our participants receive the maximum support needed to achieve educational goals and gain the most they can throughout the experience.

The second key component of our work is that each outing is designed in partnership with neighborhood schools and derives input from the teachers that work with the students day-to-day. This collaboration allows us to maximize ongoing youth impact. These authentic collaborations help us plan the best lab possible, prepare students for the experience, and ensure the effective transference of the lessons and breakthroughs at camp to life back home.

Finally, we pride ourselves on the inspirational places we conduct our labs. Both the Mount Evans and Windy Peak campuses are historical and emotive wilderness properties. The remote setting and inspirational surroundings are key factors in our ability to effect positive change in our students.