Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education at YMCA Camp Carter offers a unique opportunity for students to experience classroom lessons in a hands-on natural environment. With over 360 acres including wooded areas, hiking trails, lakes, shorelines and much more, we have the perfect environment to ensure kids truly get to experience the great outdoors.

We’re bringing the outdoors back into the classroom! We have many flexible packages and options to suit your needs. While some schools come for the day and complete our main OE curriculum classes, some will incorporate an overnight stay in our cabins with night hikes and other fun activities as well as family-style cooked meals at camp’s kitchen. We have the ability and facilities to accommodate almost any school’s needs.

Outdoor Education at YMCA Camp Carter gives young minds the opportunity to learn and be challenged in an outdoor, natural environment, full of wonder, adventure and excitement. Our Outdoor Educators are very passionate about what we do, our staff have backgrounds in natural sciences, education or environmental studies, and love to teach!

“I am a counselor at a school and we bring several students from our school to camp each year. We have seen our students become much more social, gain confidence and develop social skills that have made huge positive differences for them in school. Many of them are participating in clubs, sports and other activities they would not have attempted before coming to camp. Camp Carter has made and continues to make a big difference in their lives!”

To request a school trip please go to: 2020-2021 School Booking Request or contact [email protected] for more information.

Outdoor Education Day Activities

Walk down Camp Carter’s 37 acre nature preserve, all the while learning the basics of forest ecology and tree identification.

Take a hike to one of the highest natural points in Fort Worth! On the way, learn about how the river and elevation impact wildlife, see where a bunker from the Cold War once stood, and hear the legend of the Tucker Truck!

Students will explore what determines the quality of a body of water, and how that impacts the wildlife within it through use of the biotic index.

Learn the basic skills needed in archery and the history behind the sport. Each student has the opportunity to shoot on our range.

Students learn the parts of the canoe and proper canoe strokes, then canoe on our private lake.

Conquer your fears and cheer on your peers as your group tackles our alpine tower, rock walls, zip line and/or giant swing! Safety is the top priority for these activities, as all participants are put into harnesses and helmets by trained staff to help them climb to new heights.

Students learn about the basics of geology, the geological history of this area and then search and identify naturally occurring fossils on our Fossil Hill.

Learn the basic parts of a compass, how to use a compass, and utilize this knowledge to navigate our orienteering course.

Students learn about owl adaptations and dissect their own heat-sterilized owl pellets to discover what owls eat in nature. Students then use this information to construct their own food chain. Students get to take skulls and bones from pellets home as souvenirs. This class must be requested at least 30 days in advance.

Participants will learn the history and importance of Dutch Ovens while also learning how to use it to cook a delicious dish of your choice!

Build camaraderie in your group through a variety of games and debriefs!

Tackle the challenges our Low Ropes Initiatives present your team. A great supplement to the team building course!

Students will be divided up into small groups where they will learn how to be safe while working around a horse, parts of the horse, how to lead a horse, what grooming tools are, how to groom a horse as well as some fun and interesting horse facts. Each group will then groom their own horse. This is a great “hands on” experience for those that may be nervous around horses and for those wanting to learn more about horses.

Students will learn about the Trail of Painted Ponies, as well as the meaning of some of the signs Native Americans would paint on their horses, and will then be divided into small groups where they will work together to decide a theme for their horse. As a group, students will then paint one of our horses with their theme. This activity can only be done in warm weather, around 75 degrees or above.

Students learn about the use of horses within the Native American Culture, as well as the role they played in the history of the United States. Students apply what they learn by being divided into small groups in which they tell a story by painting Native American symbols on one of our horses. This activity can only be done in warm weather, around 75 degrees or above.

High-energy class that teaches students about the energy pyramid, the function of each member of said pyramid and the importance of maintaining the status quo through a large group game.

After some survival instruction, participants will either get the opportunity to start a fire in a variety of different ways or to work together to build shelters from the elements.

Learn about great nature writers and their impact on the present before going on a “solo” hike to find inspiration for your next masterpiece!

Students will learn about the process and importance of recycling, then use recycled items to build structures according to prompts given by an Outdoor Education instructor.

The concepts of sustainable and renewable energy will be introduced, explained, and then reinforced using activities.

Your phone’s GPS cannot tell you everything! Students will learn how to read different kinds of maps and practice that newfound skill to find different items around camp.

Tour our new garden, and perhaps lend a helping hand (depending on need and time of year)! Participants will be given the opportunity to dissect a seed and see how it all begins.

Observe many of the adaptations of the animals in our very own Nature Center. After learning many examples of adaptations and why they might be useful, build your own animal and give it the best chance for survival in an auction-style game!

Outdoor Education Evening Programs

Explore your senses at night! Students will get to experience nature after dark, while also discovering their own night vision (no goggles needed) and learning how animals use their senses in the wild.

Entertainment at its finest! Sing and laugh as our Outdoor Education instructors put on an interactive show for you! S’mores are available afterwards for an extra fee.

Your group will have a blast and be split into several small teams to compete in a variety of small, silly games.

Resources & Forms

For all schools (not including FWISD) please complete the following School Booking Request from. Our staff will check the availability once your form is received.