What is “Adventure Club?”
“Adventure Club” is much loved part of youth ministry at Grace Episcopal Church in
Nampa, Idaho. It gives school children an opportunity to explore and enjoy the beauty
of the great outdoors.
Adventure Club meets every other Wednesday during the summer months.
Adventure Club provides an opportunity for youth to get to know one another better in
a different environment. Adventure Club also brings together the youth of Grace Church
andthe youth of La Capilla (Grace’s Hispanic congregation). Hiking and exploring
encouragesteamwork, friendship, and respect that make it easier to cross
How “Adventure Club” Began
This ministry was born when a youth leader suggested a spring break trip to a nearby
site, Jump Creek. This well known place provided a hike up a short box canyon where a
breathtaking water fall fed a very small lake which then flowed out into the creek.
The creek, over the years, had carved out amazing caves into the sides of the canyons.
In the early spring, the water is very low and everything one sees can be easily explored.
It is an amazing place full of adventure and infinite possibilities. The youth attending, however, didn’t seem to see any of this. They were uncertain how to proceed up the canyon. They were hesitant to leave the trail and some were terrified to cross the creek. Almost all had to have instruction in how to climb up a steep hillside and everyone needed a great deal of encouragement to be able to see why anyone would want to come.
Leaders spent the first part of the morning pointing out the wonder and majesty of the surroundings, encouraging youth to risk crossing the creek, climbing the hill, exploring a new trail. Little by little, a sense of what it means to explore and discover an amazing new place became clearer. When the day was over, everyone wanted to know when we could do this again.
Two things became clear to youth leaders that day. One was that our children had very little experience of the outdoors. They had no idea how to explore, very little sense of the wonder and beauty around them, and no appreciation of what it meant to challenge oneself physically in order to reach a goal. This seemed unacceptable, so building on the enthusiasm of “when can we go back”, Adventure Club was born.
How to Get Involved and What You Need to Know
Adventure Club meets every other Wednesday all summer long. Because of increased attendance, we now have a 36 passenger bus. The bus leaves at 7 a.m. (Nampa is in the desert and it is important to use the coolest part of the day for hiking.) Everyone is asked to bring a lunch and a water bottle. The church provides a first-aid kit and extra water. A different destination is selected for every trip and a schedule is posted at the beginning of summer.
In the first couple of years, destinations included places where talks were given by educators. This has been discontinued by request of the children. They were clear that they want to hike and explore, “not be talked to”. We used to plan to be home by 1 p.m., but as the youth grow to appreciate the experience more and more, they want more time.
This ministry is the best new thing at Grace Church in the last five years. It gives our children an opportunity to connect with creation and one another in a powerful way that needs no words. It opens their eyes to possibilities in the world and in themselves, heretofore unseen. It builds community and mutual respect organically and calls forth the best in everyone. It is God’s children encountering God’s world and the result is as amazing and wonder filled as you might expect.
*Important things to know. You want to find places where people can step off the trails, wade in the creeks, and explore. You need to be very thoughtful about the expectations. Please take along someone who has an appreciation for bugs and other critters. Talk with youth about appropriate shoes and clothing. Most of all, encourage, encourage, encourage!
“Hiking the great Idaho outdoors is what adventure club is all about. We experienced remote locations each with their own beauty."
"Leslie Gulch is tucked in the Owyhee Mountains. We scaled the rocky cliffs and experienced the breath taking views."
"Bogus Basin in the summer resembles nothing like it in the winter. We got to the hike the Basin and soak in the fresh mountain air as we explored the trails."
"Deer Flats is located at Lake Lowell. This location is a nesting ground for birds. We had the rare opportunity to see three bald eagles up close!”