Why you should take outdoor ed


Tess Meulbroek, Staff Writer

I used to hate gym class. 

It was comical to me that I could be graceful when I danced but so extremely uncoordinated when it came to a simple gym activity. 

Little did I know that signing up for one particular physical education class my senior year would change my whole outlook on the idea of a “gym class”, and also influence my outlook on life. 

Last semester, the first semester of my senior year, I decided to try Outdoor Ed. I’d overheard funny stories about the class throughout the years which made me want to take it even more but it was really exciting that a group of my friends and I ended up being in the same period. 

Outdoor Ed is more than just a gym class; it’s a way to work and connect with other students, learn about your capabilities, and always have a fun time. 

Looking back, I can’t think of one single time I dreaded going to ODE. 

The class has many different units that teach you not only outdoor skills but also valuable life lessons. You’ll always leave the class feeling enlightened in some way and with a smile on your face. No matter how cheesy the lesson, it’s honest, valuable, and eye-opening. 

One of the longer units is wall climbing. Some of my best ODE memories aren’t even from reaching the top of a wall in victory, but from learning from my mistakes and getting stuck mid-climb. Sometimes I ended up crying from laughter just hanging from my harness and the rope. A big part of climbing is the journey, not just the destination, and I learned to be patient, persevere, and find joy in the small successes. 

Wall climbing, as well as all of the other activities, builds trust and community, something very prominent in ODE.

Another one of my favorite units was the cooking unit. We made cinnamon rolls, bananas foster, pizza, and created our own muffin and pancake recipes to try as well. We got to get some fresh air and baked them outside on the burners, and I was honestly surprised by how well they all turned out. 

With other class-bonding games and activities scattered throughout the semester, we spent the last few weeks kayaking in the pool. We learned water safety and also got to play fun tag games, which was a great way to end the year. 

Though the content of the class is fun, it wouldn’t be nearly the same without the teacher, Mr. Ray Werner. 

Werner constantly stresses the importance of making his classes a place where everyone can be themselves, trust one another, and learn to enjoy trying new things. His positive attitude made my ODE experience even better and always brightened my day.

If you’re going to be a junior or a senior next year and not sure what gym class you want to sign up for, I highly recommend giving Outdoor Ed a try.