Reward Is Outside! (RIO)
Using adventure as the incentive for positive academic and social behavior in school, RIO connects students with nature and the outdoors through the thrill of rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking and hiking. The underlying goal of these programs is to reconnect children with nature through periodic environmental education and outdoor recreation experiences.
6th grade programs “Orientation”
American Chestnuts! - Part of the American Chestnut Foundation’s effort to map distributions of wild American Chestnuts, students engage in mapping and exploring one of the state’s largest fruiting chestnut groves at ASCI’s Fork Run Recreation Area. Students use GPS units and GIS software to record and analyze their findings.
Float Your Boat - Students construct boats from junk materials to be floated down the whitewater course (no nails or glass!). Program focuses on hydrology, engineering and team-work. Good old fashioned boat racing fun!
Snowshoe Landscape - Wearing snowshoes and using adjustable ski poles, students explore the winter landscape to identify geometric shapes found in nature.
Wilderness Week - Students integrate outdoor recreation, team building and wilderness exploration with environmental education activities during a weeklong immersion program at ASCI and Maryland State Parks in Garrett County. Program involves field activities and complimentary classroom work.
Whitewater Rafting Day (Incentive Trip) - Students raft the whitewater course at ASCI in guided 6 person rafts. The experience lasts 2 hours, including 20-30 minutes of outfitting and a safety orientation. Students paddle through the course 4 to 7 times, surf the rapids and swim during the course of the trip.
7th grade programs “Exploration”
Race to the South Pole - Students simulate the great race between Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen to the South Pole (1911) by racing rafts on a pond or small. Students learn about guiding rafts, have fun racing, and glean a little history as they try not to be the losing team (i.e. the ones who didn’t make it back from the Antarctica).
Rock Climbing 101 - Students learn the basics of rock climbing, including belay commands and gear, and perform a simulated climb up ‘Mt. Broadford’ (a playground feature – can be adapted to any place, even a parking lot) while wearing climbing harnesses.
Orienteering - Using a map and compass, students navigate an improvised orienteering course in a diverse and unfamiliar terrain. Students learn classic navigational skills and how never to get lost.
Climb and Rappel Day (Incentive Trip) - Students climb and rappel the natural boulders and ledges located in the Fork Run Recreation Area. This program offers a day of climbing, rappelling, and bouldering experiences.
8th grade programs “Discovery”
Gravity is Fun - Over a full school day at ASCI/Wisp Resort, students ride a mountain coaster and record velocity (rates) and discuss effects of gravity. They learn to boulder on real rocks and explore the biomechanics of climbing (and falling). Finally, they hike down a mountain and discuss first-hand the geology and physics of mountain formation.
Discovery Day (Incentive Trip) - Students select from a menu of self guided outdoor activities for a full day program. Recent programs have included hiking, biking on the Great Alleghany Passage in Ohiopyle, rafting on the Middle Yough, climbing at Coopers Rock, and kayaking the Tippy Top Yough in the Oakland area.