Elk Trail Outdoor School

What is next for the Elk Trail School...

Partnering for the Future!

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School & YMCA Partnership History

The Eagle Point School District 9 and the Rogue Valley Family YMCA have been partnering together since 2014 to offer programs to serve Eagle Point and the surrounding communities. Through this partnership we have offered a variety of programs including: youth sports, on-site afterschool programs, Emergency Child Care, and summer Day Camps..

Expanding Outdoor Education

State funding was dedicated to make sure that all Oregon 5th/6th grade students have a residential outdoor education experience. Although the funding is available, currently Southern Oregon is lacking the resources to host the number of students eligible here in the Rogue Valley. District 9 & YMCA have decided to work together to turn the formerly abandoned Elk Trail School into a outdoor education learning hub right in our backyard. When the district made the choice to close the school it was still the school board’s hope that the school could somehow remain as an educational asset. This partnership would allow district 9 and the YMCA to bring Outdoor Education to all students in Southern Oregon.

         Letter of support for Outdoor School in Southern Oregon.

The Rogue Valley Family YMCA has been running outdoor camps for youth since 1944, these camps have focused on character development, quality time in the outdoors, and opportunities to experience new things. Moving to a formal outdoor education program really just seems like the next step for our camping programs. Although we currently have started to provide these experiences without a facility to base them out of we are excited that a fully developed Outdoor School site will allow us to expand the reach of these great programs to more youth.

          Learn about what we have done from a teacher’s perspective.

          A story of what Outdoor School means for a student.

What happens to the Building & Property now?

The Elk Trail School closed in June of 2012 and has experienced a great deal of vandalism. Most windows were broken and not a single indoor space has been left undamaged by the intruders. In June of 2021 the YMCA moved caretakers onto the property and this has helped stop future damage. The caretakers have and will continue to help maintain the outdoor spaces.

The current long term vision for the Elk Trail School and property is to convert the current classroom spaces into sleeping “cabins” that can host students for week long residential outdoor school programs for local 5th/6th grade students. The non-classroom spaces will be converted to meeting rooms, sleeping accommodations for staff & teachers, and a “dining hall” for groups to eat and gather together during their time at Elk Trail. The property surrounding the school will be developed into “classrooms and labs” so the learning will take place outside the walls of the former school. The developed outdoor spaces will include spaces that will facilitate in-depth physical science learning on the topics of soil, water, plants and animals. Learning will be blended and mixed with lots of fun and social interaction so outdoor facilities will include play spaces, an archery range, low & high ropes course, gaga pits, and a large group campfire gathering space.

Elk Trail Outdoor School Timeline

March 2020 – School Board voted to give the property to the YMCA

July 2020 – YMCA took possession of the school and property

March 2021 – First of many grants submitted for Elk Trail renovation

April 2021BSA Scout Troop 7 & American Heritage Girls Troop OR4519 completed a property clean-up and fire suppression project

June 2021 – Caretakers move onto property to help reduce the continued vandalism

October 2021 – Feasibility Study begins with Pinnacle Architecture, Inc.

~Expected Future Dates~

January 2022 – Feasibility Study complete

April 2022 – Yurts placed on property so small group Outdoor School programming can begin

June 2022 – YMCA Day Camp program uses property

July 2022 – Capital Fundraising Campaign begins

January 2023 – Major renovations begin

April 2024 – First Outdoor School program hosted on site in newly completed renovations

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about Elk Trail project please contact Gary Taylor, Associate Executive Director.