NorthStar Foundation to Launch Nebraska’s Preeminent Outdoor Experiential Learning Center
Foundation dedicated to serving North Omaha area youth to tailor-make a center to maximize outdoor adventure in the Omaha Area
Omaha, Neb. — The NorthStar Foundation (NorthStar) leadership team and the Omaha Outward Bound School Board of Directors have made the strategic decision to chart a new path and launch Nebraska’s preeminent regional urban experiential learning center called NorthStar Adventure. Built to meet the needs of NorthStar boys, as well as Omaha area youth and the community, NorthStar Adventure is a program within the NorthStar Foundation and will utilize NorthStar’s North Omaha 15-acre campus assets as well as the region’s natural resources and get Nebraskans exploring.
NorthStar, located in North Omaha, is an organization dedicated to changing young men’s lives through three areas of programming: academics, adventure, and athletics. For the adventure focus, NorthStar Adventure provides impactful experiential learning opportunities during the school year and during the summer expedition season. On NorthStar’s campus, participants have access to the Hitchcock High Ropes Challenge Course, the Hitchcock Rock Wall, the Team Development Course, mindfulness, biking and other outdoor experiential learning opportunities. Character development, leadership and service are key program outcomes for all participants in NorthStar Adventure programming.
Until today’s announcement, a partner organization—the Omaha Outward Bound School—provided adventure programming through the foundation. The NorthStar Adventure initiative means NorthStar will separate from Outward Bound USA and all current adventure services offered through the Omaha Outward Bound School will seamlessly transition to NorthStar. All Omaha Outward Bound School employees will become full-time members of the NorthStar staff and lead NorthStar Adventure programming. NorthStar will maintain relationships with Outward Bound USA and national Outward Bound School partners throughout the country and continue to collaborate.
“Two of the program areas—academics and athletics—are currently managed by NorthStar. It is a natural evolution to fully integrate adventure programming into NorthStar’s operational management,” Scott Hazelrigg President of the NorthStar Foundation said. “This decision allows NorthStar more flexibility to lead outdoor and experiential learning programming for NorthStar boys and the community by designing programming with a local focus and an ability to expand into new adventure areas, like biking, that aren’t traditionally offered by Outward Bound.”
Recruited to Omaha by NorthStar, the Omaha Outward Bound School has been housed within the NorthStar Foundation as an wholly owned LLC, for over twelve years. This foundational partnership laid the groundwork for excellence in adventure programming.
“With the rapid and strategic growth of NorthStar since its founding, the time is right to maximize NorthStar’s ‘home court advantages’ and tailor make a local adventure program that fits the needs of NorthStar boys, partner youth, organizations, schools, and the Greater Omaha community,” Barney Marvin chair of the Omaha Outward Bound School Board of Directors said. “Thanks to key investment from a broad base of donors, board leaders, and program partners, NorthStar has built an organization that rises to meet the ever-changing and challenging needs of our current climate.”
Research shows numerous advantages of getting children and adults out into nature. Nebraska Game and Parks promotes the benefits of learning outdoors including: building problem-solving skills, fostering creativity, and health benefits like reduced blood pressure, better sleep, reduced obesity, and decreased stress.
Adventure awaits for area youth and the Greater Omaha community at the NorthStar Foundation Campus through NorthStar Adventure.
The NorthStar Foundation is a North Omaha organization dedicated to changing young men’s lives through programming that supports, challenges, inspires and instills a life rooted in education, self-discipline, and service to the community. Frequently Asked Questions are below.
NorthStar Adventure: Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the relationship between the NorthStar Foundation and NorthStar Adventure?
NorthStar Adventure is a program within the NorthStar Foundation. NorthStar Adventure provides impactful experiential learning opportunities during the school year and during the summer expedition season. On NorthStar’s campus, participants have access to the Hitchcock High Ropes Challenge Course, the Hitchcock Rock Wall, the Team Development Course, mindfulness, biking, and other outdoor experiential learning opportunities.
What role did the NorthStar Foundation have in bringing Outward Bound to Omaha?
The NorthStar Foundation was instrumental in bringing Outward Bound to Omaha. In March 2009, the newly formed NorthStar Foundation envisioned the idea of exploring a relationship with Outward Bound USA for urban outdoor learning programming to serve NorthStar boys as well as the greater community. NorthStar partnered with community members to complete two key research reports, which informed the opportunities available for a potential Outward Bound Center in the Omaha area.
The Omaha Outward Bound School (OOBS) was formed under the umbrella of Outward Bound USA in 2009, and in November of 2010, OOBS was granted full center status. Within its first 24 months, the Omaha Outward Bound School served over 2,000 students through connections with twenty community partners. The partnership with NorthStar was integral in linking OOBS to the community as well as local philanthropy. NorthStar served as home base, offering a close partnership. NorthStar provided the initial startup capital and led a $300,000 capital campaign for the construction of the Hitchcock High Ropes Challenge Course for the exclusive use of OOBS.
What are the advantages of creating NorthStar Adventure?
Streamlining all programmatic operations under the local leadership of NorthStar will allow NorthStar to focus on scaling the impact in Omaha. This strategic integration provides numerous, high-value opportunities for NorthStar to:
- Increase programmatic and operational integration among the three areas of focus: Academics, Adventure, and Athletics, as well as unifying the staffing team under one organization.
- Tailor programming to fit the needs of area youth and the community as well as take advantage of natural resources in the region.
- Maximize usage of NorthStar’s 15-acre campus and facilities including the expanded Hitchcock High Ropes Challenge Course, Hitchcock Climbing Wall, and new bike fleet;
- Increase brand cohesion for internal and external audiences by singularly focusing on the NorthStar vision and mission.
- Support greater organizational sustainability by reducing the need for an external partner to manage aspects of core programming.
- Realize cost-efficiencies to reflect insurance costs tied to local programs and no national charter fees.
- Expand the experiential learning team in early 2022, adding a Director of Adventure & Athletics, to support NorthStar Adventure’s services to students and community members.
How will NorthStar Adventure benefit NorthStar students and Omaha area youth?
The mission of the NorthStar Foundation is to change young men’s lives through programming that supports, challenges, inspires and instills a life rooted in education, self-discipline and service to the community. The mission work centers on three areas of programmatic focus: Academics, Adventure, and Athletics. NorthStar Adventure will continue the excellent outdoor learning that Outward Bound provided but with expanded opportunities that will take advantage of all resources available on the NorthStar campus as well as regional nature assets. NorthStar Adventure will have more flexibility to tailor outdoor learning for NorthStar and area youth.
Will the Greater Omaha community benefit from the launch of NorthStar Adventure?
Yes! NorthStar Adventure will have program services available to the community including area youth programs, corporate partners, and schools.