Arkansas-Louisiana Outdoor School: Going Strong in 2022

August 31, 2022

MOUNTAIN PINE, ARK. – Arkansas-Louisiana Outdoor School was started by Twila Brown in 1998. The following year, Stephen Burton brought his Ozark Adventist School (OAS) fifth-grade class to Outdoor School at Camp Yorktown Bay (CYB) and the following year all OAS students in fifth and eight grade attended. 

Twila had to run two weeks of Outdoor School, because the camp could not accommodate everyone. In 2001, Twila asked Karen Ryder, teacher at Shreveport and Stephen Burton to codirect the second week of Outdoor School. Burton has continued to direct Outdoor School every year since, with the exception of two years due to COVID-19.

The 2022 Outdoor School program marked 20 years with Burton directing. The program has blessed hundreds of students over the years. This year we had about 90 students and 45 adults attending. Twenty students asked to study the Bible to prepare for baptism and several indicated wanting to get to know Jesus as their personal friend.

The theme was “Gifted” and focused on 1 Peter 4:10, which encourages us to use our gifts to bless others and bring glory to God. Sally Streib, an aquatic naturalist and children’s author from Tampa, Fla., was invited to be the guest speaker. Streib is an excellent storyteller and draws spiritual lessons from life experience, sea-shells and other creatures in the ocean. Each student received a copy of her book, Octopus Encounter.

The eighth-graders enjoyed a unique program directed by Renee Otts and Jake Krein. They met in the horse barn attic for various project-based activities and went on several day trips. Ben Roy, 3ABN Science Zone presenter, was the guest speaker for the eighth-graders. Ben used chemistry and physics to illustrate spiritual lessons. Eric Bray, CYB ranger, helped students enjoy the “Big” swing and pamper pole.

Other highlights included dissecting frogs with Joyce Fortner, petting cockroaches and other animals with Debra Rivera, making catapults with Lisa Tonack, doing puppets with David Grant, learning about nature with Rusty Litten and Phillip Walkup, seeing what a salmon’s life is like with Jessica Durichek, building bird feeders with Janet Lopez and learning about raptors with Sharon Clark.

Students enjoyed a two-hour recess each day. In the afternoon, students took one of four classes that lasted two hours. Rene Zambrano taught canoeing, David Craig and Mike Martinez taught archery, Crystal Beierle taught wilderness CPR/first aid and Ben Roy taught a science class exploring chemistry and physics.

The program concluded with a shirt signing and the students did an excellent job cleaning the camp before they headed back home. God blessed with a safe time and two rain-free days. 

By Stephen Burton