IROEC Continues to Instill Confidence in Youth

Due to the damage from the Canyon Fire 2 last October, the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center is underway in building the new Adventure Hill, allowing us to continue providing the great experiences that many Scouts and students have come to realize over the years.

David Johnson, an Eagle Scout and a Den Leader for Pack 227 in Huntington Beach, visited the IROEC with his large and very active Pack last year. David provided the IROEC with just one of the many stories they receive about how their educational and team-building programs have helped change lives.

“We held our summer family campout at IROEC last year. It was a wonderful experience and made it easy on the families (some of whom are new to Scouting). We received two large open mowed grass fields that included plenty of picnic benches under coverings, a set of restrooms and showers, and short walking distance to the cafeteria for each meal. We set up our family tents, had a campfire, and even spotted the International Space Station pass overhead. The IROEC set us up with a fun adventure hike, a large swimming pool with amusement park-like slide, panning for gold, zip-line over a ravine, and much more. The IROEC camp counselors were really dialed into the kids as they were fun teachers on lots of adventure subjects.

I’m in the unique situation to have experienced IROEC services in a non-Scouting scenario. My wife is a high school English teacher in a Title 1 area (impoverished). She receives incoming Freshmen students that perform below basic in English. Most are underprivileged, have little academic support at home, and have never stepped out of their immediate surroundings let alone slept in a tent or felt the fear of a high-wire adventure course. My wife and I brought these students to IROEC for a two-night experience that changed their lives. It was the first time they slept away from home, experienced team-building programs, stepped out of comfort zones with high-wire and zip-lines, and were asked to lead in small group discussions. Frankly, for most of them it was the first time spreading their wings. IROEC provided the open, safe atmosphere with an all-inclusive program including lodging, meals, programs, and great camp counselors. The entire experience was so positive that the school district recently funded our second annual trip. IROEC’s Leadership & Your Development Director worked with us to make our second year even better. Some of these students start out with very little prospects and their issue in English is rooted in social / economic issues that IROEC’s program help to overcome. Nearly all will exceed in her class and excel beyond basic, most of which will qualify for four-year colleges as the first in their families to do so.  IROEC plays an important role in that journey.

IROEC’s mission is unique in that it provides BSA’s principals and offers BSA’s wealth of experience to all youth in Orange County. Youth programming is as important now as ever. I volunteer a lot with my son’s school, and I see too many children seeking after school programming with nowhere to go, nothing to do. The future is our children, yet most are stuck watching commercial TV programming for lack of anything meaningful. IROEC provides the entire county with programs that stimulate growth in body, mind and spirit. Although BSA is the foundation, the IROEC provides BSA principles, expertise, safety, adventure, learning, facilities, programs and passion for all youth in Orange County. IROEC is a shining example of BSA outreach and life-changing success that is not limited to BSA-specific programs.”

For information on the IROEC visit, www.outdooreducationcenter.org