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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Education

Mission: Provide quality learning experiences that promote growth and nourish the development of individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Target demographics: school-age children and adults

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 8,000 students and adults

Geographic areas served: Parkton, MD

Programs: our Challenge Course program, Spring Break Camp, Summer Camp, and offsite Rock Climbing trips

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Eric93

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Veteran Services Foundation for which I work took a group to Genesee Valley for a day of leadership development and we were extremely pleased with the staff, the facilities, and the experience overall. From the get-go, communication with the staff was excellent and they took the time to listen to our purpose and desired results and craft a tailored plan to fit our needs. They even stepped outside of their normal methods to allow us to use some unconventional approaches to leadership development that they do not normally facilitate. All at Genesee were wonderful to work with and gave us the utmost attention. I felt as though we were their only client! It was a remarkable experience and I'd love to go back.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

Our group had over 50 adults. The staff at Genesee Valley were able to accommodate us well. They were organized, efficient and provided very good activities. I heard positive feedback about each of the group leaders and their abilities to process groups and encourage expression of what was learned. In addition to team building and learning about ourselves, we learned more about each other and our newer staff, while enjoying ourselves. The setting is very attractive.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Genesee Valley for a day of team building with people I had known professionally for a few years but never connected with on a deeper level. A day at Genessee was fantastic for getting to know and trust each other outside of work and to enjoy each other's company while learning each other's strengths. The Genessee Valley staff were so accomodating and wonderful! I would return with any group of professionals for other opportunities to build the sense of team of unity that I gained during my day there!

Client Served

Rating: 4

I am normally not a huge fan of "team-building" activities which is why I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my time at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center. I felt comfortable and at ease with the leaders of our activities, and I felt everything was at a level that encouraged positive communication attitudes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated with my colleagues in Team Building professional development at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center, Inc. in August 2014. The Facilitators were engaging, professional and wonderful!. Our Team relationship shifted positively, it was fun and now the depth of our professional relationship is evident. Thank you for leading the way in Outdoor Learning Professional Development!!! I look forward to the next experience with your organization!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Genesee Valley provided an off-site professional development and team building event for our organization. We wanted something fun and active that helped us work together and problem solve as a team.

I remembered visiting Genesee Valley in high school for a retreat and having a blast zip lining through the trees. Since our team building event was in January-it made more sense to have Genesee Valley come to our office for an off-site event. I was happy to see they could do off-site visits.

The Genesee Valley team provided us with some insights into how we function as a team, including our strengths, our weaknesses, and how we can improve our collective performance. Our department can be very very picky, but Genesee Valley put together a program that everyone really enjoyed, despite some initial reservations about touching each other, being physically active, and participating in group fun.

Everyone enjoyed the event and we would definitely consider using Genesee Valley in the future.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in a professional development (if you can call it that because of how much fun we had) day with Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center this past August. Like most PD Days I will admit I initially not excited about the day, but that quickly changed when I met the high energy staff and I learned about the awesome team bonding activities we would be doing. The staff at Genessee Valley really got our group out of our comfort zone and taught us a lot about communication through the team building exercises we completed. In the end we all left feeling as though we had a stronger bond as a cohort and we continue to build on our mutual trust and respect for one another as professionals. I would HIGHLY recommend GV to anyone looking to create a cohesive bond among team mates.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Genesee Valley was an unbelievably awesome experience!!! Honestly, when I found out that our group was going, I wasn't terribly enthused.... I was new to the group and I was just interested in learning the "book" stuff: workshops, data entry trainings, referral processes, etc. But when I got there and experienced a few ice breakers and then got into the activities, I had an absolute blast!! It literally made my training!! Getting out, getting fresh air, learning in abstract ways... Just an ubeievable exerience. And a very special shout out to our guide Matt!!! He was absolutely AWESOME and exemplified what Genesee Valley strives to do for their visitors. An awesome, AWESOME place to learn and grow in a short amount time. And thanks to Family Leaue for a great decision to make that part ofour training. Two thumbs WAY up!!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My girls have attended Genesee Valley Camp 4 summers in a row and they love it. It is all about fun, being outside, and makeing new friends. It is a action filled day and they are always tired when I pick them up. It's home, shower, dinner and bed. They love it and their clothing tells me that as well. They are busy doing crafts, games, swimming, fishing, zip lines, and a little bit of horse back riding. It is always a week they look forward to in the summer and they are sad when camp is over. They have wonderful memories of Genesee Valley and I strongly recommend this camp.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

For the last 8 years, I have been bringing our entire 8th Grade class to Genesee Valley. GVOLC offers an uplifting, team-building experience that helps prepare them for high school. The property is beautiful and there's a huge variety of low and high challenges, but it's their awesome facilitators and the way they are able to work with our students that keeps us coming back year after year.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I send my child to GV every summer, it is his favorite camp! Any opportunity he gets to spend time there, he's happy to have, and so am I.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

My organization held a team building retreat at Genesee Valley this summer. Not only did we have a great time with our fellow cohorts, we really enjoyed working with the staff. The atmosphere was truly inclusive and everyone left with having a rich experience.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former staff member and strong supporter of all that Genesee Valley stands for, I can't speak more highly of their programs. I have yet to find another organization that cares as much about creating such a nurturing, inclusive, challenging, empowering and intentional community, for both its participants and staff. I recently had the pleasure of organizing a trip to Genesee Valley with a group of Community School Coordinators that I currently work with in Baltimore, for a day of team building and high ropes. The day was beyond our expectations, and remains the highlight of our year so far; it was a very necessary opportunity for this group to connect with one another, enjoy a day outdoors, and recognize their strengths and bonds. I will continue to encourage others to experience this place and this community. There is very something special that happens here.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

The Genesee family and supporters always do a great job with the camps and working with the kids. I would highly recommend them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Why do I bring my 8th graders to Genesee Valley?

Team and Community Building activities. We also want the students the challenge themselves physically, emotionally, and socially. The students also work on our 4 Rs : Risk, Responsibility, Respect and Relationships.

Our annual 3 day 2 night trip is full of traditions.

As I sit here in my office, I am surrounded by one of the Indian Creek School traditions. The signatures of all eighth graders from 1985 through 2014 are on display on the 30 bandanas that were autographed by the students during our annual 8th grade camping trips to Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, MD. We have been bringing our middle school students to GVOLC since 1981 for team and community building experiences. On the 1985 trip, I decided to commemorate a really good camping trip with a great bunch of students by having them sign a bandana that I happened to be using at that time. This bandana was then hung in my science classroom. The following year, the next group of eighth graders, upon completing their trip to GVOLC said, “Don’t we get to sign a bandana?” I realized at that time that a new tradition was beginning. After fifteen years of collecting these bandanas, I ran out of space for displaying them in my office. With the help of a talented woman from a local fabric store, I was able to stitch the bandanas into a quilt. Now, 15 years after completing that quilt, it is now time to make a second quilt.

As I reflect back over my 34 years here at the CREEK and glance over the 1500 plus signatures, these students will always be my middle schoolers. When alumni come back to visit me, we go to their bandana, find their name and have a great time catching up on their classmates and sharing stories of their time in middle school. For the past 30 years, each CREEKER middle school alumnus has left his/her name in writing on a bandana, and each one has also left an imprint in my memory, creating an integral part of my joyful journey as a middle school educator. GVOLC DEFINETLY IS ONE OF THOSE SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES AND MEMORIES FOR MY STUDENTS.
Bruce E. Crossman
Head of Middle School
Indian Creek School
October 24, 2014

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Jane and Genesee family,

Thank you for helping form very special memories for our family and friends. There are other places that provide challenges and adventure, but Genesee Valley has the uniquely talented staff that transforms a physical experience to an emotional and spiritual one. Whether its been a day focused on communication and team work for couples, a teenager overcoming personal limitations, a 40th Birthday Party, cub scout event, or the nature-filled wonder of summer camp for our children.....you've got the right formula, and feel fortunate that we have you close by.

As our children grow older and can easily be drawn into their electronic devices, a week or two at Genesee awakens their love for nature and adventure. Additionally, I am so amazed at how the staff can facilitate in way that turns a challenge or team game into an introspective experience which helps kids and adults learn more about themselves, practice empathy, and gain confidence.

Genesee is a gem, and I wish everyone the opportunity to experience one or several of its programs.