The purpose of The Outdoor Campus in Rapid City is to provide hands-on experiences in hunting, fishing and other outdoor skills. Free educational classes for youth, adults and families are held throughout the year. The Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City provides hands-on experiences in hunting, fishing and other outdoor skills. Clint Whitley, Naturalist, explains more about the free educational classes offered for both adults and youth.
Whitley explains, “It’s anywhere from introductory classes such as some some paddling classes, kind of canoeing classes. There’s some Dutch oven cooking. Outdoor skills that we have our fishing skills, regular bait fishing, we have fly fishing going on even bow fishing this summer. So there’s that world and then there’s hunting. We have various hunting skills, classes like a muzzle loader class. If you’ve ever thought about trying hunting with a muzzle loader, which is there’s a big learning curve there. [There’s] even a class later on of buying hunting gear, buying a firearm. It’s kind of an intimidating thing walking into a store. So there’s a few programs there. And we like to divide our classes into that: Outdoor skills, hunting programs and fishing programs.”
If you have just moved to the Black Hills and want to try some outdoor activities and aren’t sure where to begin, the Outdoor Campus West is a great place to start. Whitley continues, “We’ll start with those introductory classes and then there’s always something we like to direct people to that they can continue getting that support…coming back. And just because you jump to the kayak once doesn’t mean you’re a kayaker. You might need a little bit more support, or especially with hunting and fishing. There’s a lot to learn. It’s a welcoming community, but there’s a lot to learn. So we want to help you bridge those gaps of navigation, knowing where you can go, what to buy; the gear, the license, all of those things that are are difficult for some people to learn. So we’re here to help with that.”
The Outdoor Campus needs help from both volunteers and interns in order for all the programs to run smoothly.
Whitley explains, “So first off, volunteers can stop by, grab a little pamphlet. We’ve got people that that are sitting at the front desk, very simple job. But you’re important. You’re greeting our people. They come in. All the way to our volunteer mentors who are helping me in our hunting 101 program, go out and do hunts with people. And that’s the application process for both of those. But our internship is something that’s available for college students. So as long as you’re a full time student, you can come and work here, teach these classes that we have going on right over there and be a part of the team. These students are just another part of the team and they’re great to have. We can’t run from this place without them.”
Internship applications are open right now and can be accessed here. This is a paid internship and students are encouraged to apply.
Cheyenne Parke, Naturalist Intern, says, “I went to Black Hills State University for outdoor education and this is exactly what I wanted to do. So it was a super cool opportunity for me. We get to do awesome things like teach classes on fishing and kayaking and hunting, and I’ve always been into that and being able to teach people that know nothing and know and then teach people that know a little bit is really awesome as well.”
For more information about the Outdoor Campus, visit their website here.