Experiential Education aims to grow and nurture connections with its participants to one another, the world, and their place in the world - Beyond what their phones or Siri says. It is a learning process that fosters lessons in addressing conflict with more patience, kindness, and to approach problems with group-oriented solutions.
Make authentic connections and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Using an experiential education framework, students are the ones driving and leading their experiences throughout the learning process. Inside Out believes these experiences, combined with reflection, are crucial for empowering students. This allows students to take control of their learning process, fosters a spirit of curiosity, and spurs a sense of accomplishment. These experiences result in meaningful and applicable life-lessons outside of Inside Out programming.
Turn Your Classroom Inside Out Our goal at Inside Out is that participants find themselves trying new things, embracing challenges, demonstrating compassion, and connecting with the natural world around them. And, of course, fun will be had along the way.
Every program is custom-built for you. Your goals are our top priority. We work with you on activity selection and program design so that it’s your adventure, your way.
When determining program objectives, we build upon your group’s prior experiences and lay foundations for future ones. Program content and language are intentionally framed around achieving your desired outcome within the group. Programs can last a few hours to multiple days and can be adjusted to serve students ranging from 5th - 12th grade.
Choose your location. Inside Out programming can occur on your school campus, at nearby parks and forests, or at one of our home facilities.
Inside Out offers a wide variety of flexible activities so you can create an experience to perfectly suit your needs. Each activity can be adapted to your group’s goals.
The Most Dangerous Game requires students to work together as a team to escape a series of “rooms”. This activity challenges the group to look at the whole picture and use effective communication while building decision making and teamwork skills.
In Raft Building, students are given a limited amount of materials to build a raft that will float their entire group from one point to another. The group practices creative and critical thinking along with problem solving skills while cooperating to succeed as a team.
Group Challenges from Inside Out are chosen to represent the specific goals of your trip. We have a multitude of team building challenges of varying difficulty to build leadership, communication, respect, empathy, trust, and other social emotional skills within a group.
Discovery Hikes are guided by student curiosity and structured around the needs of the group. They can be focused to a varying degree on local ecology as the group explores and discovers the forest or a body of water.
Fire Building, Shelter Building, and Primitive Skills offer unique opportunities for students to learn and practice a skill they may never have experienced before through fun, hands-on teaching and experimentation.
Literature Based Activities are designed to deepen students’ understanding of a chosen material through connecting their learning with real-life experiences.
Our Stewardship projects provide students with the rewarding opportunity to complete trail work and other projects that serve the local community.
Backpacking offers a challenging and rewarding experience for students. Our instructors guide students in backcountry camping skills, instilling a sense of accomplishment and confidence. In this new setting, students naturally bond with classmates during their time on the trip.
Whitewater Rafting gives students the opportunity to experience a thrilling adventure alongside their peers and teachers.
Rock Climbing offers both a physical and emotional challenge for students, allowing them to conquer their fears. Whether your group chooses to climb a natural rock face (weather permitting) or an indoor rock gym, students realize that they and their classmates may be capable of more than they thought.
The High Ropes Course, similarly to rock climbing, allow students to overcome fears, exceed their expectations, and tackle an emotionally and physically challenging activity head on. The course allow students to choose their challenge and to complete the course at their level of personal comfort and growth.
Waterfall Hikes take advantage of the amazing public lands in our area, offering a unique and exciting opportunity for students to explore and appreciate natural wonders.
Sliding Rock is a natural waterslide that gives students the opportunity to slide 60 feet down before splashing into a cold pool below the falls. This is a fun and refreshing addition to any trip.
Accomodations & Meals
Accommodations Most multi-day programs are facility-based, which means the program is held at one of our home base summer camps. Participants sleep in cabins with bunk-style beds. Programs may also be held at a state park group camp facility, or strictly out in the forest for backpacking. A packing list is created for each program with specialty gear items added as necessary.
Dietary: Inside Out has experience accommodating many types of allergies and needs and will plan menu substitutions with parents when needed. Please emailor call to discuss specific requests.
Options: There are several menu options for our programs. Aside from our main dishes served on each table, we offer a variety of other options at breakfast (yogurt and cereal) on a buffet bar. There are also salad options at every lunch and dinner. We eat family-style when in the dining hall and all participants assist with set-up and clean-up processes at each meal.
Snacks: Snacks are automatically included in the afternoons. Other snacks available upon request.
Click on any of the following sample schedules to get an idea for how the day(s) are organized. Of course, all schedules can be customized and altered.
Teachers / chaperones attend at no charge-up to the number needed for program. That number is determined within the initial planning of the program.
Custom-made programs allow us to add or take away activities that can keep the final costs within budget. For example, a meal from school or home - usually lunch on arrival day - can reduce the cost of a program, while still eating at the facility.
All costs are dependent upon choice of activities, program location, and number of participants.
Camp-Based Programs You meet us at one of our facilities or we find a location to rent closer to you. Meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen and served in a dining hall. Students and chaperones stay on site. Activities like ropes courses, rock climbing, and off-site traveling to activities raise the cost per student.
Cost range per day, per participant could be anywhere from $75 - $105 for a multi-day program. AVG: 3 to 5 days (all depends on numbers and activities).
Day Programs You meet us at a day-use area, such as a state park, or your campus. Lunch can be provided by us, the school, or each student can bring their own. These programs can fit within the time frame of a normal school day.
Cost Range per day for a 1 or 2 day program: $20 - $75 (depends on location and number of students / staff).
Backpackingor Combo Backpack with Camp-Based Portion You meet us at one of our facilities. We split into smaller groups and our instructors facilitate packout of gear, food, and personal items. That same day, we embark to trailheads with participants to travel to their first campsite. Meals are prepared by each group in camp. Additional activities add to the cost, but rock climbing can often be integrated without a need for additional transportation.
Cost Range per day for a 4 to 7 day program: $95 - $122
Safety & Staffing
Inside Out is committed to the physical and emotional safety of all our participants and staff.
Safety is a primary concern on all programs. We take pride in being a Safety First award winner, year after year, in The Markel Insurance Safety 1st Education Program.
Our team of instructors is carefully selected for their experience, character, and expertise in wilderness skills and leadership in experiential and team-building activities. Criminal background checks are conducted on all staff members prior to their first day of teaching with students.
All of our staff go through a number of outside training programs and reviews to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest teaching strategies, safety procedures, and prevention techniques. Certification to handle medical emergencies is required of all our staff.
Currently, we have staff certified in a number of areas, including:
CPR or CPR for the Professional Rescuer (all staff)
First Aid (all staff)
Wilderness First Aid (minimum for all staff for any off-site program)
Wilderness First Responder
Emergency Medical Technician; Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
Most staff are trained beyond our minimum standards with Program Directors and Expedition Leaders holding Wilderness First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician certifications.
Inside Out staff can additionally hold various specialized activity skill trainings and certifications, including:
American Canoe Association (Open Canoe, Kayaking, Coastal Kayaking)
Wilderness Education Association (W.E.A.) Outdoor Leadership
National Outdoor Leadership School (N.O.L.S.) Leadership and Skill Courses
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course
While certification is an important component of a safe and effective trip leader or facilitator, it is not the whole picture. Many of the conferences and workshops our staff attend lead to certification, but not all. Inside Out considers its ongoing feedback processes and staff training to be the key elements in preparing staff to safely and effectively handle the situations they will encounter.
Staff members typically participate in additional training and educational opportunities that don’t necessarily lead to certification, including but not limited to:
Group Facilitation Training
Rock Climbing Top Rope Site Management
Inclusive Teaching Methods for Varied Student Needs
Ropes Course Facilitation
Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
What always surprises me about Inside Out is the incredible capacity for caring and safety provided by the counselors. Before camp, most students are not comfortable stepping out of the social constraints of middle school. At camp, the students are put into day groups of eight to ten. Within these groups, each counselor quickly creates a safe place to take risks and share feelings. In just a few days of Inside Out activities, these acquaintances have formed bonds that they carry with them back to school. Because of the incredible leaders at Inside Out, students learn to encourage each other, work together, and reflect on their accomplishments. Daniel McNamee Middle School Science and Yearbook Adviser
At first I wanted to go home and now I don’t want to leave. 8th grader during last night of backpack
Inside Out has done an outstanding job of preparing thoughtfully designed, developmentally appropriate, and engaging programs for many years. We have consistently been impressed by Inside Out's planning and organization, their continuing drive to make the student experience better, and the wonderful facilitators whom they hire. Our school frequently receives pitches from other organizations who offer to work with us to develop outdoor experiences for our students, but we would never dream of working with anyone other than Inside Out! Erik Kreutner Middle School Head
Our school places an emphasis on experiential learning from fourth grade until graduation. Often the mountain trip that Inside Out craftily designs is one of the students' all-time favorite field studies. The students get to be kids, to learn about nature, to work cooperatively, to connect to The Education of Little Tree, and to enjoy bonding with each other, the school chaperones, and the impressive mentors. This trip is the perfect way to end each school year! English Teacher 7th Grade
For The Parents
Congratulations! Your child is about to embark on a memorable learning experience with their peers. Whether Inside Out is running a program at a park facility near you or your students are traveling to one of Inside Out’s home facilities (link to Accommodations & Meals), our staff (link to Safety and Staff) can’t wait to get to know your students and share all kinds of cool knowledge with them.
All staff at Inside Out are CPR and First Aid certified and have experience in group facilitation and outdoor environments. You can learn more about our staff here [link to Team/Staff]. All staff undergo a criminal background check prior to working in the field with participants.
How can I prepare my child for Inside Out? Your contact, who is organizing the trip, will provide a packing list to help your child come with all the necessary gear and clothing to help them be comfortable and prepared.
If your child has not spent many nights away from home, we recommend encouraging them to stay over at friend’s or extended family members’ home for a night or two prior to their trip. This builds confidence and competence for participants as they prepare for a totally new camp or outdoor home-away-from-home.
Challenge your child to take a break from technology, because we are a tech-free program. This can be the most challenging adjustment for participants coming to Inside Out, so consider a household “tech break” for a few hours where everyone at home puts their screens aside. Consider practicing your child’s bedtime routine without screens and substituting chapter books, magazines, and comic books instead.
Talk to your child about the fact that the adults at Inside Out (both the Inside Out staff and the teachers and chaperones attending from the school) are trusted adults. Instruct your child to let any adult know if your child is having a problem, need help, or are struggling with any sort of physical, emotional, or mental issue during their time at Inside Out. We can only assist with problems we know about, so please empower your child to speak up!
My child is going on a backpacking trip with you and they have never been backpacking. Will they be okay? Inside Out instructors have worked with many folks who have never backpacked before and are trained to teach participants about gear, proper packing and backpack fit, and outdoor skills for safety, hygiene, comfort, and fun in the forest. Participants consistently finish their backpack trips empowered by and excited about their growth in their confidence in their wilderness skills.
Will my child need money at Inside Out? Some programs do opt to have the Inside Out merchandise for sale to students. Prices range from a $5-$40 for a variety of items including stickers, water bottles, hats, and t-shirts. Check with your contact who is organizing the trip to find out if the merchandise station will be open.
How to get in touch if there is an emergency? The best way to be in touch with your child at Inside Out in case of an emergency is to be in touch with your school contacts. If you are unable to reach them, call the Inside Out office at 828-697-5295. Please note that during programming, the office is sparsely staffed and there may be a delay in response, so it is best to be in touch via the preferred method shared by the person at your school who is organizing the trip.
How can I chaperone? If you are interested in assisting your child’s school with staffing and supervising the trip, please be in touch with your organizing teacher or contact. Chaperones are responsible for assisting with behavior management during activities and supervising students in the cabins. All decisions regarding what chaperones attend an Inside Out program are made by the school and not Inside Out staff.