Crow students roll through semester on skateboards they made themselves

7 06 2017

crowskate

Crow students spent months building their own skateboards. They tested them out at Washington Jefferson Park in Eugene Tuesday, May 6, 2017 with help from the City of Eugene River House Outdoor Center skateboard instructors.

Crow Middle/High School is incorporating skateboards into classes.

Students are celebrating the end of a semester-long project with a ride at Washington Jefferson Park.

Teachers said the project used techniques from math to art to teach kids how to create their own skateboard.

“It’s pretty cool that we get to, like, make them in school and stuff ‘cause most schools don’t have the opportunity since they’re so big they can’t do the classes like these,” said Olivia Clark, a ninth grade student at Crow Middle/High School.

They said since the project began, more than 20 students have been staying longer in class and skipping lunch to put together their project.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Country Fair.

“Doing math and science and they don’t even know it. It becomes part of the thing; that’s the way real life is and you can’t fake it with these kids,” said Tina Dwoarakowski, a teacher at Crow Middle/High School. “You know they know when you’re giving them busy work. They know that it’s got to be the real deal; it’s got to be authentic.”

Teachers said they plan to continue this project for years in the future.

From: KVAL 13 news broadcast

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River run, wisely

27 10 2016

Be prepared, be realistic when rafting, paddling waterways, local guide advises

June 18, 2016

There are plenty of reasons why thousands of people are lured to water every summer.

It could be the sound of water flowing over rocks, the cool breeze that comes off the surface, the refreshing feel on a hot day or the wildlife such an outing attracts.

Whatever the reason, city of Eugene recreation programmer Aimee Goglia and her team of rafting guides know to expect it every year. That’s why they offer so many rafting opportunities — through city summer camps, school field trips and groups such as Nearby Nature and McKenzie River Trust.

Run out of the River House Outdoor Program on N. Adams Street in Eugene, the rafting program also coordinates trips with all the community centers. The River House program does not compete with private outfitters — groups wanting a tour guide and a raft trip are encouraged to call private rafting outfitters.

The rafting season can start as early as April and run through September. At the height of summer, Goglia and her staff of 20 guides are coordinating about five trips a week.

This summer, a rafting camp through the Wayne Morse Family Farm runs July 11 through July 15. Youths ages 6 to 8 will float the Willamette and older kids will float the McKenzie. Another camp based at the Sheldon Community Center will take kids ages 6 to 11 on the Mc-Kenzie River the week of August 1.

Program staff floats the Willamette and Mc-Kenzie rivers often enough to really know the rivers, appreciate their beauty and understand the inherent dangers. They are experts at teaching people the basics of floating these local waterways.

river run, wisely

Inflatable rafts dot the Willamette River west of the put-in spot at Aspen and D streets in Springfield. River guide Aimee Goglia led the outing for elementary-age students from Eugene and taught them water safety. (Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard)

 

 

Staying safe

Goglia says one of the most important safety tips is to pick an appropriate river for your skill level and to never go alone.

“People should know the river and the runs and be aware of their skill level in relationship to the river,” she says. “People should ask questions about the hazards in the river.”

A common, and potentially deadly hazard, is a “strainer” — a piece of debris in the river that allows water to flow through but would trap a person. A downed log or a shopping cart could be a strainer.

If a person fell out of their raft, she should swim aggressively away from hazards such as strainers and only stand up when moving water is calf-deep or shallower. A swimmer also should swim toward the boat closest to him.

Because falling out of a boat is always a possibility, Goglia recommends always wearing a properly-fitted life jacket.

She said she sees a lot of people overuse ropes and lines in their boats and loose lines can cause people to get entangled in them.

“More ropes in the water causes more chaos,” she says. “People can get tangled on them.”

Above all, Goglia tells boaters to “remain calm.” She says panicking will only lead to bad decisions.

Enviro ethic

Safety extends beyond humans. Goglia wants boaters to follow the leave-no-trace environmental ethic to protect wildlife and the environment as well.

“We are passing through critters’ homes,” she says. “People should pack everything out that they brought and take only pictures on their trip.”

Feeding the animals only hurts them in the end — people food is unhealthy for wildlife, helps them lose their natural fear of people and can cause them to conflict with people.

Goglia also hopes boaters take a look at the shoreline before stopping. In some cases, killdeer or Canada geese are nesting and the presence of people could disrupt the nest.

Another common activity to avoid on the shoreline: urinating — it’s no joke.

On the Willamette and McKenzie rivers, the volume of water is so large that peeing in the river is preferable to on the shore. “It has more of an impact if people pee on shore,” she says.

Where to go

Goglia has an array of great float trips on the tip of her tongue, and she encourages people to call the River House for help when planning a trip.

For beginners looking for local, short day trips with Class I or II river stretches (that is, an easy, calm section with occasional rapids that are easy to maneuver around), Goglia recommends these:

Up the McKenzie River, put in at Helfrich and take out at Leaburg Dam or at the EWEB boat landing.

Also on the Mc-Kenzie, put in at Armitage County Park and take out on the Willamette River at Marshall Landing on the left, southeast of Junction City. There is also a river right take-out outside Coburg at Cross Roads Lane, the road where Agrarian Ales is located.

On the Willamette River, put in at Island Park in Springfield and take out at River House in Eugene (which does not have a boat ramp) or across the river at Valley River Center. For a shorter run, take out at Alton Baker Park.

On the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, put in at Pengra Access Boat Ramp west of Dexter Lake and take out at Clearwater Park in Springfield.

On the Willamette, put in at Aspen Street/Alton Baker Park and take out at Whitley Landing County Park, in north Eugene.

Dancing on the river

Many of Goglia’s raft guides are younger people who have done raft trips through the city’s summer camp program or through their local elementary school. Goglia loves to see kids connect with the water in the same way she has.

“I love rowing,” Goglia says. “There is a beautiful flow. It is such a dance on the river. When done right, you are finessing rather than muscling your way through a rapid.”

More Out and About articles »


Plan a trip

Following are a few resources to help plan a river outing:

McKenzie River Guides: A comprehensive listing of river guides and outfitters for the McKenzie River; mckenzieguides.com.

Oregon Paddle Sports: 520 Commercial St., offers classes and rentals for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and rafting. Also connects with rafting guides; oregonpaddlesports.com.

River House Outdoor Program: 301 N. Adams St. For information about river and float trips, call 541-682-5329; eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com. Also, Aimee Goglia leads private whitewater rowing lessons at $40 for a minimum of three hours. Call 541-682-6358 for an appointment or email aimee.n.goglia@ci.eugene.or.us

The University of Oregon Outdoor Program: 1225 E. 18th Ave. Rental equipment available for members and nonmembers. Summer hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; outdoorprogram.uoregon.edu.

The Willamette Water Trail Guide: This is an excellent resource for planning a river trip, Goglia says, including equipment must-haves; willamettewatertrail.org/about-the-water-trail.

Life Jackets

Sponsored by the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the Eugene Emerald Valley Rotary Club, the sixth annual Life Jacket Exchange Event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Springfield Cabela’s, 2800 Gateway St. Here’s how it works: Bring outgrown or unused life jackets to Cabela’s and exchange it for a properly fitted child’s life jacket. Experts on hand will check for proper fit. Call 541-682-4179 for information.


Full article can be found at: http://registerguard.com/rg/life/weekend/34415389-289/river-run-wisely.html.csp

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House on the River

23 05 2016

 Eugene’s River House celebrates 50 years

Eugene's River House

Eugene’s River House

Ah, Eugene, “a great city for the arts and outdoors,” especially if you have the right gear, training and financial means to actually get down and dirty in the area’s natural wonders.

One factor for enjoying the outdoors is having access in the first place. The Eugene Rec Outdoor Program provides just that for Eugeneans, and the organization’s 50th anniversary is right around the corner.

Originally established by clean-water advocate Mel Jackson and the city of Eugene in the late 1960s, the outdoor program later was expanded by the Eugene Parks and Rec department. The group eventually acquired the nickname River House, seeing as the building is smack dab on the river. Canoeing, rock-climbing, white-water rafting and other activities have been added to the program’s activity list over time, and accessibility for the courses is a consistent factor for the River House team.

“We have a goal of making our program inclusive and accessible to anyone wanting to participate,” says program supervisor Roger Bailey, who’s been with River House for nearly 30 years. Bailey says he’s seen the positive community influence that accessible outdoor programs offer. “That is our mission,” Bailey says, “to help people grow and to help make this community a better place to live.”

For Bailey, this means approaching courses with “cultural respect, accountability, honesty and integrity.” He says more energy is going towards focusing on financial accessibility, and a youth sailing course provided by the outdoor program was recently able to share scholarships for low-income children.

“Every walk of life comes here to take our programs,” Bailey explains. River House programs provide people with, as he puts it, skills that need to be learned outside of school or work. Whether you’re feeling like honing your outdoorsy side in town or want to put some spur-of-the-moment REI purchase to the test out in the forest, the program has activities for all levels, and few exceed a $40 price tag — not to mention the handful of courses that are free to the public.

The River House’s 50th-anniversary celebration will be 4 to 7 pm Saturday, July 23, at 301 N. Adams Street, with food, circus arts, cake, kayaks and paddle boards provided at the event; more info at eugene-or.gov.

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Sailing–The Perfect Way to Spend Your Summer

6 07 2014

Life lessons abound as your middle schooler or teenager learns how to sail: teamwork, cause and effect (read: choice and consequence), and learning to read your environment are only a few.  Of course, there are technical skills, too.  But your child won’t be thinking about any of that; they’ll be busy having fun and making friends! We hope you watch this short and sweet video together of our Sailing Camps, and decide for yourself.  Here’s the link to enroll–https://ceapps.eugene-or.gov/econnect/Start/Start.asp.  Go to “Register for Programs,” and click on “Camps” on the left hand side. There’s no better weather to learn how to sail!

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Play in the Rain Day, November 9th

1 11 2013

Join River House staff and several other partners at Mount Pisgah on November 9th!  While we can’t guarantee rain, we can guarantee that there are plenty of activites for kids, parents, and grandparents. Archery, tree climbing, nature art, and cider pressing are just some of the many offerings this year.  Dress for the weather and be prepared for a busy event–last year, over 2000 folks attended!  Play in the Rain Day is a free annual event from 10am-3pm.  More information below, thanks to www.youthinnature.org.

 

PLAY IN THE RAIN DAY!!!

FREE PUBLIC EVENT

NOV. 9th – 10 am to 3pm 2013

Free Parking Courtesy of Lane County Parks

Come to Mount Pisgah Arboretum’s White Oak Pavilion to join the fun at Play in the Rain Day.  Local outdoor recreation and education organizations will come together to provide fun activities for you and your family.

Enjoy

  • Tree Climbing – Campfire Cookery – Nature Exploration/ Hikes
  • Nature Crafts – Backcountry Horse Demos – Hayrides
  • Smokey the Bear and MORE!!!!

GROUP

PLAY IN THE RAIN FEATURED ACTIVITY

Emerald Back Country Horseman
Demos of horse packing with real horses. Hands on! Come meet the horses!
Forest Service
Demos of horse packing with real horses. Hands on! Come meet the horses!
Whole Earth Nature School
Practice archery with foam-tipped arrows! Check out our nature touch-table!
WREN
Join us for a guided nature walk and Scavenger hunt with WREN, BLM, and Forest Service volunteers!
Willamalane
Bones ‘n’ Animal Tracks and Track Crafts! Get to know your furry friends. Check out our cool collection of bones.
Near by Nature
Create art with natural materials! Use small cones, shells, pebbles, lichen, and more to “paint” a temporary picture.
BLM
Check out the fire truck! Join us for a guided nature walk and Scavenger hunt with WREN, BLM, and Forest Service volunteers!
Friends of Buford Park
Come along for a hay ride!
Mt. Pisgah Arboretum
Take a guided blind-fold walk and experience nature through your other senses! Try a little fresh apple juice, pressed right before your eyes!
Northwest Youth Corps
Nothing says camping like good ‘ol fashioned campfire cookery! Cook hotdogs or marshmallows over a fire! Visit us inside the pavilion and dress like a corps member!
LCHAY
Come play our Spin the Wheel game and learn about fun and healthy lifestyles!
UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Make coil or pinch pots decorated with natural materials!
Camp Fire Wilani
 

Learn about canoe safety techniques outside, and join us inside to learn to tie knots!

 

The sky is NOT the limit for enjoying the great outdoors! We hope to see you at Play in the Rain Day.

The Youth in Nature Partnership

Purpose Statement:

The Youth in Nature Partnership is a collaboration of non-profit and governmental organizations committed to increasing opportunities for youth to spend time in nature.

Why We Collaborate:

The partners are concerned about the decline in children spending time in nature. Each organization brings unique resources and perspectives to the partnership and creates opportunities to reconnect children with nature. From nature education to service learning to just having fun, we all value how nature can inspire and teach children.

Current Members:

Bureau of Land Management Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah
Northwest Youth Corps Mt. Pisgah Arboretum
United States Forest Service Willamette Resources and Educational Network
Nearby Nature City of Eugene Recreation Services
Willamalane Whole Earth Nature School

Contact Us:

Learn more about how to get involved with the partnership or to take part in any of our events please e-mail or call:

Jennifer Steimer –
jen@nwyouthcorps.org
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
541 349 7501

Sara Lausmann –
office@bufordpark.org
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
541 344 8350

 

 

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Young Climbers Provide Inspiration to All

17 10 2013

Wow. This young athlete really impressed us with her talent and dedication to rock climbing. The following video introduces Brooke Raboutou, an 11 year-old girl who is only one of two female rock climbers in the WORLD to be a record setter. Incredible!

And then there’s this 14 year-old climber, Drew Ruana. His favorite place to climb is, of course, Smith Rock State Park here in the great state of Oregon. Check out his blog to read more about his accomplishments and watch him dominate 5.14 routes at Smith Rock.

http://thedrewruanablog.wordpress.com/videos/

Bring YOUR daughter or son to ATA every Tuesday beginning on November 5th, from 5:30-8:30.  $5 per climber gives you gear and knowledgeable staff.  Practice those skills in a safe indoor environment, and they may be ready to try outdoor climbing next summer!

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Have Fun, Play, and then who knows?… You might learn something!

7 12 2012

IMG_2904

I have received numerous articles and videos recently of some respected people who are championing the value of “Play”.  Here are a couple of recent ones that I highly recommend:

Play is more than fun it’s vital!

The Importance Of Play

In light of these great resources I wanted to take the discussion to the next step and provide you with some tips and suggestions to lead others in playful games and activities and point you in a direction to find further resources to PLAY!  Who knows where you can take it from there, but chances are you might learn something.

So here we go:

BASIC GUIDELINES and TIPS for PLAYING GAMES

from the SBCC Manual

Start with the group as it is, considering the age range, clothing, available play area, and their psychological readiness to interact with each other and go on from there.

Aim for games where everyone is involved. Standing around idle is opportunity for shoving, etc. And nobody likes to be “eliminated” from play for a long period of time and have to just stand around watching.

Be very open and welcoming to everyone, even a bit silly, modeling the style of play you want to encourage. Assure them with words and gestures that each game will be fun. Dress up the games with names promising fun, add appropriate “pretend” elements, and develop the group’s ability to play together.

Whatever the situation begin with simple games, easily explained, with simple equipment that provide easy access and that have few rules, that will end quickly so transition can be made to new games. Make room for new arrivals or latecomers and quickly incorporate them into play. Be ready to shift games as group size changes.

Form a circle. This is an easy way to establish that everyone is included and allows for the group to be able to see you giving instructions.  Remove sunglasses when talking to the group and try to position yourself facing the sun so that your participants are not looking into the sun while trying to look at you.

Begin with a general description of the game including its imagery, objective and if possible a familiar game category. Try to give them choices as to who plays what. Practice any special moves or phrases ahead of time.

Have a balance of strenuous and lower activity games. Let players stretch their bodies and feelings slowly at first. Try to conclude with an appropriate “wind-down” game as well. Be sensitive to when the players are getting tired and may need a less strenuous game, or even to stop playing.

Be very safety conscious, and give clear safety instructions to the participants. Make it clear that the objective is a good time for everyone. Use “Bumpers Up,” and “Wog” where appropriate.  Stress the use of strategy and teamwork.  Avoid rough contact games.

Wog!

Work towards building trusting relationships between players. Balance individual expression with group awareness and community sharing. Play down aggressive competition, stress cooperation.

Keep your sense of humor. As the Referee-leader, don’t take yourself too seriously.  One outburst of anger can turn everybody off. Encourage and keep alive the make-believe imagery of the games. Play with them as much as practical and possible. Ideal situations are those where the children take over the leadership of the play.

Try to keep teams evenly matched – Some kids will always try to stay together, boys and girls will tend to separate from each other, some will need some “nudging” to get them involved, hopefully most will show some enthusiasm once you get started. Expect some resistance, be enthusiastic! Have some “Divider Games” in your tool-kit.

Have a signal for “everyone refocus and pay attention” such as everyone raising the “one way” sign. Learn some effective “Attention Getter” activities.

Be prepared to modify the game to maintain or create a balance in the level of challenge. Keep the game from being too goal-oriented. Give everyone equal opportunity to play different roles, and don’t allow certain people to dominate. Adjust the challenge, simplify or complicate moves, in order to adjust the speed of the game, its and the ease of achieving its goal. You want everyone to have as an opportunity to enjoy participation in the game.

Be flexible – if a game isn’t working, adapt the game or do something else.

End the game or change to a different game at the height of FUN.  As a facilitator you need to be aware of the group’s energy and interest level.  Ending a game when everyone is having a good time will keep the energy of the group up and the individuals engaged to listen to what’s next.  Don’t play a game and wait for everyone to be tired or bored in order for you to introduce the new activity.  For some groups, you’ve already lost them.

Watch your time!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Recently a new game book has come out entitled “Find Something to Do” by Jim Cain.  It is a small book containing 123 Games and activities using little to no equipment.  I recommend the book as a helpful quick reference to get the ball rolling and play with groups.  The activities are written to be useful for a variety of leaders so I would encourage you to take a look.

A suggested activity that I have played for years to get the fun and play going with one of your groups is one of my favorite games called Transformer Tag

OR

Heads and Tails Tag

Objective:  to tag the other team

Description:Demonstrate to the participants the two body positions suitable for wogging (moving at the speed between walking and jogging!) Some participants will place one hand on top of the head, while others will place one hand on their rear-end.  Have participants stand with their hands by their sides.  Each participant will be allowed to decide which team they are on when you say “GO!!!”

Participants then immediately declare their identity on their head or their tail. One team (the heads) attempts to tag the other team (tails) and vice versa. When tagged, the tail is transformed into a member of the heads team and vice versa. The game continues until one team (heads or tails) has dominated the world, transforming all of the other teams’ members! Can be repeated although I usually do not play it more than 3 times in a row.

Robert Brack, Spencer Butte Challenge Course Director

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