What is next for the Elk Trail School...
Partnering for the Future!
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 from the Jackson County Commissioners
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.
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.
These are a few renderings of the converted classroom spaces into sleeping cabins, the proposed new gym, and a site plan showing the to be created outdoor learning spaces.
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 2021 – BSA 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.
March 2022 – Feasibility Study complete
June 2022 – YMCA Camp Staff Training hosted on-site for a full week
June – August 2022 – YMCA Day Camp uses the facility for day trips
August 2022 – Adjacent property purchased by YMCA, bringing property to 12 acres
~Expected Future Dates~
Fall 2022 – Convert house to camper housing & open Cafeteria to cook and serve groups
January 2023 – The bell tower (cupola) will be replaced so roof leaks stop, funded by the Kinsman Foundation
March 2023 – House renovations complete so small group Outdoor School programming can begin (working to secure full funding, currently about 75% funded)
September 2023 – Capital Fundraising Campaign begins
January 2024 – Major renovations begin
April 2025 – First multiple class Outdoor School program hosted on site in newly completed renovations
We are getting ready to launch a capital campaign to begin the major renovation work on the Elk Trail project please consider donating today to help bring the future of YMCA camping to the Rogue Valley. Looking for other ways to donate or want to help raise the fund please contact Gary “Flame” Taylor, Associate Executive Director.
If you are interested in learning more about Elk Trail project please contact Gary “Flame” Taylor, Associate Executive Director.