Outdoor Empowement

outdoor-empowerment1-300x118Outdoor Empowerment (OE) based in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, is a program of Save the Kids. OE was founded in Syracuse, New York by four individuals in 2005. OE is dedicated to providing inclusive alternatives to violence, group-building, environmental awareness, environmental/social justice, and empowerment skills in an outdoor setting for youth that are caught in or targets of the juvenile system.




Outdoor Empowerment (OE) takes adventure outings one step further and focuses on the process of the 3 Es:

1. Experience 2. Education, and 3. Ecology


Outdoor Empowerment (OE) mission and its activities is rooted in the three theories:

1. Ecopedagogy 2. Environmental Justice 3. Eco-ability

outdoor empowermentOE’s Uniqueness: There are three distinct characteristics that make us unique from the rest of the outdoor educational organizations.
  1. Our instructors have a commitment to social justice and empowerment for our participants.
  2. Our instructors have a formal environmental and conflict studies education background.
  3. Our instructors all are are highly skilled outdoors-people.


We also incorporate what we like to call the 5 Ss into everything that we do:

  1. Safety – Safety is always first in any activity we organize.
  2. Simplicity – We strive to be as low-impact on our surroundings as possible, keeping to the 3 Rs: recycle, reduce, reuse, from everything we throw away to the gear we use.
  3. Sustainability – Knowing that our actions have an impact on the environment around us, we aim for conscious and sustainable choices, from the vehicles we drive to the food we eat.
  4. Service – Our mission is to provide our skills to the public in order that our participants will be empowered to give back to their own communities.
  5. Social Justice – Last but not least, we believe that everything we do must foster social justice, whether that is providing free education or teaching respect for diversity.

**We do not discriminate or limit our invitations; we are open to all individuals no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual belief, or ability.


outdoor empowerment logoIf you are interested in any of the following 6 workshops, please fill out our individual application form or organization application form.

The Outdoor Empowerment provides three workshop formats:

  1. Mini-Workshop – 3-4 hours
  2. Day-Long Workshop – 8 to 10 hours
  3. Weekend Workshop – Friday Night 6PM to 10PM (4 Hours), Saturday 9AM to 5PM (8hours), Sunday 9AM to 5PM (8hours)

Cost of workshops are all on a sliding scale and depend on what trainer(s) you invite, if the attendees are from a university, school, community center, or social justice group, and what workshop format:

  1. Mini-Workshop – $50.00 to $500.00
  2. Daily-Long Workshop – $100.00 to $800.00
  3. Weekend Workshop – $200.00 to $2,000.00


Note, we do not take out less than 4 and no more than 12 participants. In each training there is at least 2 instructors.

  • Click here for – Gear and Equipment You Need for Weekend Outing

OE has developed curricula for 6 workshops (see below) with different focus areas: 1) empowerment, 2) conflict transformation, 3) nonviolence, 4) leadership, 5) problem-solving, and 6) wilderness. Outdoor Empowerment believes in a holistic educational approach, which is represented in our six workshops.

We provide all the basic camping gear, technical equipment, and workshop supplies for our participants to use during our outings and workshops.


1. Empowerment

  • The Empowerment workshop provides the essential workshops and skills necessary for strengthening group dynamics and sharing knowledge. Empowerment is based on uplifting the talents and knowledge of all members in the group to a respectful and equal level. This program will encourage participants to become dependent on one another in order to achieve goals set during the weekend. This program is suggested to groups that have not worked on projects prior and those that have difficulty in delegating different tasks to members of an existing group.

2. Conflict Transformation

  • Based out of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and Help Increase the Peace Project (HIPP) from AFSC model, which started in Greenhaven prison, in New York in 1971 by prisoners and Quakers, this program is directed to people wanting to develop skills needed to handle conflict in a more constructive and empowering manner. Unlike conflict management, which merely strives to control conflict, or conflict resolution, which strives to establish an agreement, conflict transformation transcends goals, interests, and intention in hopes to create a new ending and beginning for all involved in the conflict.


balloon banner 23. Nonviolence

  • This workshop is directed to street-line peacemakers and nonviolent activists wanting to expand their repertoire of skills for positive social change. Participants will learn a wide range of tactics that can be used in the struggle for social justice. This program will be provided by highly experienced and knowledgeable people with a vast amount of activist and peacemaking experience. While we would like to provide such skills for free, we believe that activists should take their education seriously and provide an economic investment and interest in it.


4. Leadership

  • Unlike empowerment, which stresses group dynamics and interdependence, the leadership workshop focuses on individual roles and responsibilities. Participants will all be charged with leadership roles in some aspect of the trip. This program is suggested for groups and individuals who already possess well-rounded bases of knowledge and want to develop the people skills necessary to successfully lead their own groups.


5. Wilderness

  • wildernessIt is incredibly easy to spot areas where humans have been. Their wake of destruction is quite plain to see. But this need not be the case. Leaving as small a footprint as possible is the name of the game in this workshop. Participants will learn techniques such as building shelters, mapping, compass skills, first aid, and making fires. It is our hope that by the end of the trip, all will have developed an admiration and respect for the environment that goes beyond the simple “how to” and the “why” of low-impact techniques.


outdoor empowerment ropes course6. Problem-Solving

  • With all well-rounded educational organizations and institutions, there exists a workshop that provides education on the process of solving simple and complex problems, from daily chores to negotiating one’s responsibilities at work. Unlike conflict transformation, which is among people and/or groups, problem-solving is based one individual’s relationship to a situation and/or process. Therefore, in this workshop we stress being creative and using one’s emotions and intelligence in order to have a positive outcome. What better place to be creative and take on personal challenges than the outdoors, with natural obstacles from cooking a meal to climbing a mountain?