The moment may be temporary,
Outdoor School began in Tillamook County in approximately 1966 - 1967. It was started as a pilot project of Oregon State University under the direction of Joan Ross. Camp was held at Camp Magruder in Rockaway, Oregon, for sixth grade students, their teachers, and counselors.
In the 1977 - 1978 school year Outdoor School was moved to Camp Meriwether, a Boy Scout camp just south of Cape Lookout on the Oregon coast. Camp was held in the late spring which meant that every year the trails would be incredibly muddy before camp ever started since there wasn't time for them to dry out after the winter and spring rains. Also, each year there was the inevitable powerful storm usually with winds of at least seventy miles an hour. Even though the camp experience was powerful, it came at the end of the year meaning there was little time in the classroom with the students after the camp experience.
After four or five years of spring Outdoor School at Camp Meriwether, it was decided by the three directors, head director Bill Bentley, Sandra Archerd, and Dean Bones, all sixth grade teachers, to move camp to the fall. It was hoped that a fall Outdoor School on the Oregon coast would experience much better weather. Also, it seemed a much better idea to present information and activities at camp that teachers could build on the entire year. Camp was being held at that time for three one-week sessions of about 100 sixth graders each.
In 1990, Creative Memories Co. was disolved as a "for-profit" company and was reformed as a "not-for-profit" company. In 1992 the company was given tax exempt status. Then in 1997, a law firm representing The Antioch Company of Ohio "insisted" that the name be changed from Creative Memories Co. because they had a Creative Memories divsion. To avoid any legal costs, the name was legally changed to Tillamook County Outdoor School.
In the late 1990s Oops!, DeAnna Walker Upton, along with many helpers began fundraising efforts to wipe out the debt Dean and his wife, Laurie, Moses & Zippy, had incurred in producing Outdoor School and trying to keep the price per student as low as possible. Not only was the debt taken care of, but TCODS was able to lower the cost per student from about $98.00 to $90.00. There were many rummage sales, sales of local savings cards, dunk tank operations at the county fair, set up & clean up of the annual OHA - Oregon Hunters Association dinner along with serving etc. at the dinner and producing what has now become the annual TCODS Steak Dinner & Auction.
Presently there are approximately 260 sixth graders attending Outdoor School yearly with their teachers, approximately 70 high school students, and quite a number of volunteers and hired staff. Neah-Kah-Nie School District, Tillamook School District and Nestucca Valley School District send their sixth graders to camp for a week each fall.
ODS fall 2007 marked the 40th year of Outdoor School in Tillamook County and the 30th year at Camp Meriwether!
Do you have information about the early history of Outdoor School in Tillamook County? If so, please CONTACT TCODS with your information! Thank you!