PCDS leadership training teaches students respect for nature

Phoenix Country Day School’s Outdoor Leadership Training team—a group of high school students who trained on many outdoor methods and skills–is a new organization that is fostering the important relationships between PCDS upper school students with their middle school counterparts.

The students trained specifically in leave no trace principles, water purification methods, wilderness medicine, map reading, outdoors skills and group dynamics, according to a press release.

The OLT team, along with faculty mentor Hallie Mueller, lead hiking and camping trips available to PCDS middle and upper school students.

Ms. Mueller is an accomplished backpacker and mountaineer who has worked in Alaska as a climbing guide and holds a Wilderness First Responder’s certificate.

“I’m trying to empower students as informed and engaged leaders, rather than passive tourists,” stated Ms. Mueller, in the release. “It’s paramount that the next generation, especially this powerful demographic, learn to enjoy the outdoors as a gateway toward respecting it.”

Each Thursday at lunch, Ms. Mueller leads group discussions, games, and on-campus training for students in preparation for upcoming trips and activities.

Along with the upper school OLT students, Ms. Mueller has offered three trips to PCDS middle and upper school students this semester—Rock Climbing and Camping in the Granite Dells (Prescott) with the Arizona Climbing Schools, Fossil Springs (Strawberry) backpacking and camping, and McDowell Mountain Preserve trail hike and camp-out (north Scottsdale).

Each trip hosts about fifteen students, in order to preserve safety, and there is an extremely high demand to participate, the release stated.

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