What is the purpose of the Outdoor School Program?
The Parkway Outdoor School Program grew its roots in the Parkway School District in 1969-70. The program has evolved quite a bit in its 46-year history, but the central focus of environmental, ecological, and experiential education still remains intact. Outdoor School is a program aimed at striking a balance between giving a better understanding of how the natural world works, building a school community, and providing students with an opportunity to develop their own personal connections with the earth and nature. The objectives are:
- Develop insight into natural science concepts through hands-on experiential field lessons and activities that promote learning about ecological systems in the natural world.
- Develop an appreciation of the environment and an understanding of environmental issues.
- Develop outdoor/primitive skills which enable students to interact and utilize nature for survival, connecting to culture, artistic expressions, and recreational purposes.
- Learn the functions of community living, and develop a better understanding of civic virtues through daily interactions, cooperative activities, and group challenges
Where and when is the Outdoor School Program held?
Camp Lakewood at the YMCA of the Ozarks
How much does it cost for my child to attend Outdoor School?
$275 (costs include: student lodging, meals, insurance for four days and three nights, staffing, supplies, and transportation)
Financial assistance (up to $100) is available for families who have a dire financial need. Financial Assistance applications are due to your school team's director four weeks prior to leaving for camp. We have limited funds for student fee assistance so please be considerate to those more needy families when deciding to apply. Payment plans and credit card payment options are available to help families with covering the cost of the student fee (see the following question). Many schools also provide fundraising programs to help offset the cost of Outdoor School. Please see your child's school for more details.
2022-23 Financial Assistance Application (Available this fall)
How do I make payment for my child?
Families are asked to pay for their child in full prior to their date of Outdoor School. However, we realize that this sometimes is difficult to do. Therefore, Parkway offers many different payment options. At a minimum, we ask that a $50 good faith payment is made prior to your child's attendance. This good faith payment can be put towards a payment plan (i.e., 5 payments of $50) to be paid throughout the school year. To request a payment plan please call Maggie Kline in the Parkway Finance Department at 314-415-8056. Credit card payments are also accepted through the online program called RYCOR (See below). This system will allow you to make a full or partial payment using a major credit card (See link below for complete information). Families who owe any student fees at the conclusion of the school year will be turned into a collection agency.
To pay for 6th Grade Camp online, go to please follow these steps.
Who will be accompanying my child to camp?
The Parkway School District provides the staffing for Camp Lakewood. Each team is led by a camp director and staffed by a combination of Parkway school team teachers, YMCA staff and other Parkway teachers from your child's school. Each team also is staffed with a full-time certified nurse. In addition, the YMCA provides some personnel to assist with special programs and cooks for mealtimes. School Principals and the Outdoor School District Coordinator also make regular visits to Camp Lakewood throughout the week.
What activities will my child participate in?
Your child will be involved in many outdoor education lessons and activities which will focus on ecological/environmental learnings. The units of soil, water, wildlife, plants, and outdoor skills will be covered through experiential field lessons such as stream ecology, eco-geo, wildlife observations, team challenges, horseback riding, and cave ecology, just to name a few. Students will also enjoy fun evening activities such as Pioneer Night, Skit Night, and the Squirrel Olympics (activities vary by team).
Will my child be safe?
Of course, your child's safety is our number one priority. Students are always under the direct supervision of a certified Parkway staff member and/or a trained high school student cabin leader. In addition, a certified nurse is on duty 24/7 throughout your child's stay to administer medications and treat any injuries. For added security at night, a contracted security company patrols the grounds overnight. The YMCA closely monitors weather conditions and has nearby buildings which serve as shelters in case of inclement weather.