Start an Outing Club
Thank you for your interest in starting an Outing Club at your high school! Teens To Trails believes that providing opportunities for outdoor experiences will help students thrive. Outing Clubs are an effective, efficient and positive way to introduce outdoor adventures into your school program. Let us help you take your first steps ... it just might be the most important thing you do all year!
There are bunch of great reasons to start an Outing Club! When students become engaged in the outdoors, they are healthier, happier and rooted to the world around them. They feel better about themselves and more connected to others. There is an increasing body of research that directly links exposure to the nature with becoming better students, better thinkers, and better citizens. So ... let's get started!
Here are some first steps we recommend, for more information please see our Outing Club Guide*.
1. If you are an teacher/parent: FIND SOME INTERESTED STUDENTS!
- Talk to students that might be interested in outdoor adventures. Get them excited. Enlist their help!
- Reach out to other faculty & community members who share a passion for the outdoors.
- Reach out to other faculty, parents & community members who share a passion for the outdoors
If you are a student: FIND AN ADVISOR
- Talk to teachers you know that like the outdoors and might be willing to act as your Outing Club Advisor. Get them excited. Having an advisor is really important – they can help you meet with administrators, serve as trip leaders, and provide structure for the Club. Some good people to think about may be science teachers, PE teachers, or anyone with a personal passion for going outside.
2. GETTING STARTED
- Contact Us so that we can connect you with other clubs in your area and give you advice specific to your clubs needs.
- Connect to others in the Teens To Trails network through our Facebook page and the Maine Outing Club Advisors Group
- Talk to Outing Club Advisors and Members at other schools.
- Recruit! -Use our “Sample Recruitment Poster” to design a poster to hang in hallways & build interest. Feel free to use our video to promote your Outing Clubs as well.
- Define your Club’s purpose & create a simple mission statement.
- Have a few simple outings in mind. You might start with short outings close to home.
- Draft a simple budget considering initial costs, stipend for Advisors, and transportation.
3. CONSIDER SAFETY & LIABILITY ISSUES
- See “Available Safety Trainings” and “Risk Management Tips” in Our Outing Club Guide
- Confirm coverage under school’s insurance policy. Some Outing Clubs form as an "Explorer Post" under the umbrella of the Boy Scouts for the insurance coverage it provides, while still operating as a school club.
4. MEET WITH DECISIONMAKERS
- Print & bring along the Teens To Trails “High School Outing Club” pamphlet to give to administrators.
- Be prepared to discuss the benefits of an Outing Club to a teen’s healthy development, including:
- Emotional and physical well-being of students
- Improvements in school performance: test scores, attention span & motivation to learn
5. HAVE YOUR FIRST MEETING
- Your first "meeting" can even be an easy local trip (Check with your local land trust for nearby public access conserved land) so that prospective clubs members can actually experience how much fun being in the outdoors with their friends is rather than just talking about it.
- A small group is all you need to get started!
- Put students in leadership roles – this can be a great way to keep members engaged and excited. Let them help plan and research outings. Later, this could develop into Club Officers.
- Distribute Participation Agreement and Health Form
6. PLAN YOUR FIRST OUTINGS
- Check our Outing Club Tools and trip inspiration pages
- See the suggestions for “8 Easy Outings” and “Sample Hike Plan,” in the Outing Club Guide
- Don’t be afraid to start small – start with a small group of students, or a trip you know well.
- Do your research for the outing, taking into consideration group size limits, access, contingency plans, parking & weather.
- Prepare a letter for parents & packing list for participants. Recognize that some may need help with appropriate attire. See “Parental Cover Letter Checklist” & “Sample Day Hike Packing List” in the Outing Club Guide
- Obtain an emergency first aid kit for trip leaders.
7. COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS
- Send home a cover letter and parental consent form with each student and be sure you have copies of their health and permission forms.
8. HAVE FUN!
- Enjoy your trips! Planning, communication and logistics will become easier as you go on more trips, gain experience and come to know the types of trips that work well for you club. The possibilities for excursions are endless.
*You must have a T3 website login to access the Guide. Sign up to be a website User here.