Preparing to Teach the Teachers

We all know that teachers are an important link as children learn the many lessons they will need to know in life.  Teachers spend years learning the skills they need to teach these students. They master their subject; whether it be math, languages, history, music or the many other curriculum’s taught.  They also must learn how to communicate their subjects to their students. While teachers are versed in the areas they teach; many times, they are lacking knowledge of the outdoors around them and how the outdoors can be used as a tool in teaching the many subjects that are their primary emphasis. That is where the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) comes into play.
To help educate the teachers guest speakers like Harlan Kredit, high school science teacher, summer Yellowstone Park ranger and college professors Dr. Gary San Julian, PhD, Professor Emeritus Penn State University, Dr. Fidel Hernandez, Dr. Bart Ballard, PhD, Research Scientist and Professor, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute & Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas share insight and techniques that up to 240 teachers each summer can use for years to come. The lessons learned at AWLS can be used as tools in teaching most any middle or high school subject.
AWLS takes place at a 37 acre compound that sits just south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the beautiful mountains of the Grand Tetons range. There is a main lodge and cabins for the students and the staff providing housing and top-quality meals. In addition to the housing there are classrooms and outdoor learning sites for studying ecology, conservation and the shooting sports including archery and basic firearm skills.
As you can imagine the facilities necessary to provide such a learning experience require a lot of yearly maintenance.  AWLS work week is held each year just prior to the opening of the school to make sure that it is ready and in top condition to welcome the teachers who for one week will be the students.
In May of 2018, four SCI Flint club members, Dennis Gepfrey along with his wife Camille and son Chris, Matt Bluntzer, Carl Griffin and CJ Merriman were part of approximately 40 SCI members from around the county who participated in work week.  We helped rebuild cabin steps, maintain smoke detectors, lay new water lines, fix roofs, cut grass, prepare shooting ranges, as well as a myriad of other tasks. Working over a four-day period a long list of jobs needing to be done were completed.  It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when a group of dedicated SCI members join together and really get to work. However, work week provides the participants much more than just the chance to work up a good sweat.
During meals and evening get-togethers there is the opportunity to really get to know fellow SCI members and learn not only what their chapters are doing, but how they go about communicating the SCI message and recruiting new members. Work Week’s a great opportunity to not only support SCI and AWLS, but to learn, have fun, and make new friends.

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