Epic Dudes: Adventure skills inspire youth to be great

Courtesy of Ramstein Youth Programs

All children love playing outdoors, especially as the weather gets a little bit warmer in Germany. Many adults also have great memories of riding bikes, making mud pies, catching bugs and having imaginary adventures in the backyard. However, how many children in the KMC can say they know how to utilize digital GPS navigation systems, build an outdoor shelter or cook a cake in a box or have visited some of the best hiking trails in the local area? The children from Ramstein Youth Programs sure can!

Epic Dudes is one of the specialty programs offered during the school year. The club is based on the Passport to Manhood curriculum from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is designed to foster responsibility, self-esteem and leadership in young men. Matching up this curriculum with a youth development professional with a passion for outdoor and adventure programming produced a combination that is truly epic.

“This program has grown beyond anything I could have hoped for,” said Epic Dudes adviser Ronnie Juhans. “At first, the boys liked having a club where no girls were allowed, but they have gotten involved in so much more through their participation.”

By introducing activities based around outdoor adventure, Juhans teaches specific skills, while also building resilience, as youth develop a sense of competence to successfully master tasks and build confidence as they work through challenges presented in the activities.

With the success and popularity of Epic Dudes, Ramstein Youth Programs is taking the program to another level this summer with the Out & About Adventure Camp series. From STEMtastic Travels and time traveler adventures to outdoor survival and boots and backpack hiking, youth can spend the day exploring, learning skills, making friends and having fun.

“It is difficult to really describe how much youth gain from Mr. Ronnie’s programs,” said Kaureen Whittaker, assistant director for Ramstein Youth Programs. “But a parent from Mr. Ronnie’s spring break camp told us that her kids gave up a week in Garmisch to participate in the camps because they are the best thing about the KMC.”

The Out & About Adventure Camp series includes field trips to locations that reinforce learning in STEM topics, such as history, environmental conservation and physical fitness or nutrition. Additional high yield learning activities build skills in GPS, survival knowledge, appreciation of the outdoor environment and enjoyment of German culture.

“I want the kids to challenge themselves to try new things so that they realize how many talents and abilities they already have and how they can use those skills to truly reach their potential,” Juhans said.

Goals like completing a hike might seem small to adults, but it offers a wealth of learning opportunities. From determining your level of physical fitness and how to improve, working as a team to ensure no one is left behind, or making a plan for what do when you are caught in an unexpected downpour, youth in these camps are building life skills and making amazing memories in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

For more information or to register, visit www.86fss.com and click on the families tab or call Ramstein Youth Programs at 06371-47-6444.