Home Features WATCH: BYU-Idaho students take over new outdoor youth program

WATCH: BYU-Idaho students take over new outdoor youth program

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Video reported by Elise Prado

The Adventure for Youth program at Badger Creek was shut down last semester, but two BYU-Idaho seniors are reorganizing it as Outdoors for Youth and running it this summer at a new location.

Emily Johansson and Christopher Gomm, both seniors studying recreation management, are putting their education to the test by organizing Outdoors For Youth, a new program meant to fill the void left when Badger Creek was shut down last year.

The new youth program will be located at Canyon Creek.

 

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Johansson is the president and co-founder of Outdoors For Youth. Gomm is the vice president and also a co-founder of Outdoors For Youth. Both Johansson and Gomm said they had experience with Adventure For Youth, a camp program put on by BYU-I that combined outdoor activities with spiritual learning to help youth build their testimonies of the Savior.

Johansson and Gomm said they were heartbroken to find out the camp was shutting down and decided to create a new camp with the same vision and values.

Johansson said the kids will spend a week outdoors participating in activities such as whitewater rafting on the Snake River, archery, zip lines, rope courses, a giant Slip N’ Slide and many others. Each activity is accompanied by a spiritual lesson.

“Experiential education is learning by doing,” Johansson said. “They talk about what just happened, and then the why. Then they apply it to themselves by answering to themselves, ‘now what?’. They talk about it among themselves and teach each other, guided by the counselors.”

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Gomm said young adults are encouraged to apply to be counselors at Outdoors For Youth. They are looking for those with a strong foundation of the gospel to share with the youth.

“Our ultimate goal (is) to strengthen the faith and testimonies of youth throughout the world,” Gomm said. “So, we need dynamite counselors to work hard, have good ethics, be goofy, have fun and maybe even dance a little.”

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Johansson and Gomm said they wanted to give advice to other BYU-I students to follow their passions.

“Just go for it and prepare yourselves,” Johansson said. “Gain experience now. Figure out what you need to get done now — what skills you need. And develop your skills, so when an opportunity comes, you’re ready for it.”

Johansson and Gomm said balancing classes with building a business means they are working long hours. Both said it has taken a toll on their grades, but they are learning more as they apply what is being taught in their classes to their business.

Gomm said the challenge for them has been trying to keep up with class assignments and business responsibilities. But they find themselves more motivated and focused in the classroom.

“You learn a lot easier when you have something to learn about and that you’re learning for,” Gomm said.

They have most recently been working on surveying the camp area. On Saturday, Johansson and Gomm brought along other team members and hiked over a mile in snowshoes to the location of the camp to start building a layout for the campgrounds.

Johansson and Gomm said they are contracting with a lot of different companies to build a ropes course, provide the supplies and build the cabins. They are leasing this property from a farmer near Green Canyon, off of Canyon Creek Road.

Johansson and Gomm said they chose to go with this land specifically because of the spirit they felt there.

Outdoors For Youth will have their first camp session starting June 4, with week-long sessions starting each week for a planned total of 10 or 11 sessions throughout the rest of summer.

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