School and Camps for kids, adults, veterans, and families. Where education is real, relevant, and wow. Where every curriculum is customized for every participant.
"We believe, for a brighter future, we must develop those that will lead others that have the habits to be healthy physically fit happy successful emotionally intelligent empathetic ethical people with grit, which are well educated, skilled in creative, critical, and divergent thinking, capable of adaptability and collaboration, and are good stewards of the earth."
A Slideshow of Our Youth Programs
You might think that much of what our students do is extracurricular or enrichment, but that is not the case, all of our youth programs are integrated. What you may think is extracurricular is by design intracurricular. The FFA is a great model to follow.
Since 1928 agricultural education has integrated classroom instruction and the youth organization, The FFA. For more than 90 years this integration has proved to be a highly successful model of changing the lives of youth and preparing them for their own future through leadership, personal growth, and career success, and comradery. We have used this successful integration of agricultural education as a model for Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute for more than 20 years. Our afterschool programs; our winter, spring, summer camps; our leadership programs, our projects are all integrated together into a much larger experience for our students. There is a demonstrated synergy when our students participate in all of these programs, it is measurable. However, it doesn’t stop there.
Our adult wilderness, agriculture, and teacher training programs as well as our veteran, senior, and therapy animals are all integrated into our youth programs. As you look at our photos and slideshows you will see veterans and other adults being mentored, veterans and other adults mentoring youth, youth mentoring both veterans and other adults; you will see our therapy animals being trained by both youth and adults, you will see these animals giving love and comfort to everyone. You will also see our therapy animals and mentors giving comfort to palliative and hospice patients, what you can’t obviously see is what we bring back from these patients and how these experiences change the lives of all of our participants, how what they teach us lives on well beyond us.
We believe that in 90 years our model of education will continue to produce generations of leaders that will better serve our communities far and wide.
"When you leave the pavement and continue your drive bordered by the tree covered mountains you start to understand that this school is different. When you get out of your car at the school you can’t help saying 'Wow!'"
Located on a pristine dairy farm in Boundary County in the Idaho Panhandle of the Selkirk Mountains
Our K-12 day students and resident students earn their diploma following their passions in a series of total immersion camps. Our school is a proving ground for the best practices in education since 2001.Visit Our School Page
We have leadership opportunities within our camps for ages 16, 17, 18 year olds and for adults.Visit Our Leadership Page
Since 2001 our Wilderness Camps and Special Events have been intensive total immersion wilderness experiences intended to make youth confident and self-reliant, as well as just letting them be kids.Visit our Camp Page
In combat, life is different, a combat soldier is part of a team, everyone has orders, they have a job to do, and combat soldiers have seen things and have feelings they know can only be shared with other combat soldiers. Returning soldiers, though back in a loving family many times feel alone, and only a combat soldier can understand why.
Since 2014 we have not only been working to train combat veterans to train others in all of our programs but additionally give them the tools to best serve other combat vets.
We believe in the importance of keeping families together when veterans are in our programs to follow their interests and passions; to that end we have our K-12 school and camp programs available that their children may enroll in; their spouses may enroll in our adult programs, and there is always meaningful work for everyone on the farm, dairy, and forest.
The skills you need to know to work or play in the backcountry. With over 150 sessions offered from basic to mastery in many subjects.
The skills necessary to live off the grid and far from town. These are the same skills our great grandparents all knew. Raising food and feed, shelter and heat, water and power, clothing and more.Read More
Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute offers Department of Fish and Wildlife's Hunter Education in Northern California and Oregon and soon we'll be adding Idaho too. Additionally we offer International Bow Hunter Education Program (this class is required in some states to hunt with archery tackle) and mentorships.Read More
Our therapy dogs and equine work with our students in our school, workshops, and camps. Dolly has extensive training and experience working in hospice, palliative, Alzheimer's, and veteran care. Dolly, the patients and staff look forward to visits at both the VA and at private senior care facilities. Dolly is animated in her routine to get ready for work and the patients have been known to wait outside their room for Dolly to arrive bringing smiles and tailwags. No words need to be said when tears are in the eyes of the vets as they hold and pet her.
Harlie has also had extensive training; she attends our camps and school. She helps when kids are homesick or just missing their own dogs, she also helps the kids with their reading by just listening.
Annie the mule has also stepped in as a therapy equine on her own sharing love and affection with our participants. We believe the interaction and responsibility between people and animals is invaluable, therefore residents in our programs are responsible for care and training of dogs and equine.
"This is great, it is like watching a bunch of post grad students collaborating but they are 10 - 15."
(The summary of a teacher shadowing one of our mentors)