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 Program Overview


orkila high five.jpgCamp Orkila's OEE Program encompasses two areas of study: Environmental Education and Challenge Education.

Environmental Education focuses on nurturing a sense of appreciation for the natural world through an understanding of ecological systems. Surrounded by the natural world, our staff work to pique students' curiosity and guide their discovery experience. Basic ecological concepts are introduced and studied with an emphasis on how students can interact positively within natural systems. Areas of study include Marine Ecology, Forest Ecology, Garden and Sustainability, and Earth Science.  Investigations are incorporated into several of the classes so that students can apply the scientific method in the field.  All classes are aligned with state learning standards.   

Challenge Education focuses on building cooperation, problem solving skills, trust, self-reliance, and self-esteem to build strong individuals and strong groups. OEE Instructors create a supportive and judgment-free atmosphere where individuals and groups are able to challenge themselves and learn through their experiences. Orkila has one of the largest challenge courses in the region.  We utilize both ground and low ropes initiative courses, a climbing tower and zipline, giant swings, and traditional and advanced high ropes elements to help attain these goals.

At Orkila, your experience is completely custom. 

Most groups that come to Orkila fully utilize the resources by choosing classes from both Environmental and Challenge education areas. You may choose the length of stay (traditionally 2-4 nights), and you may choose the class line-up to align with the goals of the trip.

Programs are predominantly held outdoors, in our beautiful Northwest setting.  Our campus includes a beach front on Puget Sound, old growth forests, open fields, garden and pond space, a Marine Salmon center, and various indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.   

Various accommodation choices exist at Orkila, to see more information about these choices click here.

Our standard rate includes meals, housing, and program.  Generous financial assistance is available based on need.   

To discuss outdoor education opportunities at Camp Orkila for your school or group, contact:

Christy Shiers
C 206.949.9825 


 Teacher Resources



The program planning information has been redesigned to provide focus to our program and to make the materials easier for you to access and use. Accessing the materials online allows you to print and copy whatever you need. You may also send specific groups of people such as parents, chaperones and even students directly to this site to download the materials that are designed for their use.  

For Everyone:
  • This General Information contains details on Orkila's policies, accommodations, "a typical day," and other information.
For Teachers and Organizers:

For Chaperones: 

  • This Chaperones Packet is the section of the program guide that contains information specific to chaperones.
 For Parents:
  • This Parent Packet is the section of the program guide that contains information specific to parents, including the “What to Bring” list!  The "What to Bring" list is also available in Spanish.

If you have any questions about our program, or want more information, please contact Christy Shiers, Director of Environmental Science Programs at or 206.949.9825. 


 Team-Building & Leadership



At Orkila, we strive to build strong group dynamics, break down cliques, and foster a strong community for your school.   We have one of the largest challenge courses in the region.  You can choose the options that fit the goals for your experience. 
Our staff are expertly trained and certified to facilitate our challenge course.  Our facility is held to highest industry standards for safety.  Our equipment is inspected with each use and careful logs are kept to ensure all equipment is in safe and in working order. 
Each class is designed to take 90 minutes with a group of 15 students.  You may choose which classes you want to take.  Descriptions of each of the activities below may be found here.
On the Ground (or close to it):  
giant swing kid w counselor.jpg
  • New Games
  • Initiatives
  • Initiatives II – Low Ropes
  • Initiatives III – More Low Ropes
High Challenge:
  • Traditional High Ropes                                
  • Giant Swing
  • Climbing Tower
  • Zip Line
  • High Ropes Circuit - advanced
  • Giant’s Ladder – advanced

 Environmental Education (OEE)



At Orkila, we offer a variety of OEE classes to meet your program goals.  Almost all learning takes place outside utilizing our beautiful outdoor learning areas.  Some classes meet in the Marine Salmon Center on the waterfront. 

To read descriptions of the classes, click here.Marine science tide pools.jpg

Marine Ecology Classes

  •  Beach Walk
  •  Marine Investigation
  •  Plankton
  •  Marine Invertebrates
  •  Super Salmon
  •  Salmon Conservation Debate

Forest and Aquatic Ecology

  •  Forest with an Investigation
  •  Micro-Forest with an Investigation
  •  Pond Study
  •  Watersheds
  •  Life and Death in the Forest 

Garden and Sustainability           

  •  Garden
  •  Sustainable Living

Earth Science     

  •  Geodesic Dome
  •  Rope Bridge
  •  Geology
  •  Outdoor Living Skills
  •  Orienteering

Challenge Education

To see a description of our challenge education options, please see our "Team-Building and Leadership" tab. 

Programs for Schools | YMCA Camp Orkila | Eastsound, WA