The WOODS Manual!

The Center Leader Notebook
Wilderness Outdoor Opportunities for Durham Students

An Introduction to W .O.O.D.S.

Wilderness Outdoor Opportunities for Durham Students
Written for W.O.O.D.S. Staff by Abby Horn
W.O.O.D.S. Co-Director 2001 April 25, 2002
W .O.O.D.S. @ Githens Middle School The Corporate Version

W.O.O.D.S. is one of 23 student service organizations under the umbrella of the Duke University Community Service Center (CSC). We provide environmental education, trips, and outdoor experiences for over 60 Durham elementary and middle school students. Through the CSC, W.O.O.D.S. has a charter with the Duke Student Government (DSG) and receives annual funding from DSG. In 2001-2002, W.O.O.D.S. operated on a budget of $1,635. This budget was granted by DSG with the expectation that the W.O.O.D.S. program would take place at three locations in Durham. During the 2001-2002 year, however, W.O.O.D.S. expanded to serve four centers in Durham: Githens Middle School, the West End Community Center, East Durham Community Center and Lyon Park Community Center.

One or two center leaders run each center independently, and several officers (two Directors and a Treasurer) oversee the program as a whole. The center leaders and officers meet monthly to discuss events at their centers and to plan program-wide events such as the fall staff training retreat, WOODSgiving (a Thanksgiving pot-luck for Duke volunteers), and WOODSMONT, (a spring festival organized in collaboration with other student service groups). At each center, W.O.O.D.S. takes slightly different forms depending on the age of the students and the creativity of the Duke volunteers. In general though the W.O.O.D.S. program consists of two components: (1) one hour of environmental programs at the center each week and (2) occasional day and overnight trips. The Duke volunteers involved in each center meet each week to plan the games and activities that they will implement at the center. Programs aim to increase students' awareness of the environment and the outdoors, although the educational content of programs varies, and the connection to the environment is sometimes tenuous. Popular programs include making recycled paper, sculptures with found or recycled objects, and capture the flag with an environmental theme.

Day and overnight trips also center on the theme of the environment and the outdoors. Popular trip destinations include the Duke Primate Center, the Scrap Exchange, the Eno River, Falls Lake, and the Asheboro Zoo. The W.O.O.D.S. budget anticipates that each center will take 2-3 trips each semester. In reality, however, transportation issues (and perhaps the motivation of volunteers) have limited the ability of some centers to take trips. An effort to increase the frequency of trips is one reason why W.O.O.D.S. has sought to distance itself from Parks and Rec in the past year. The West End and Githens W.O.O.D.S. groups, for example, have their own vans/buses and drivers, whereas the other two centers rely on Parks and Rec vans, which require early reservations.

Finally, it is important to note that the structure of W.O.O.D.S. is constantly changing. Originally affiliated with Project WILD, W.O.O.D.S. began as a backpacking organization for older students in Durham. Weekly sessions at the centers now make up the majority of W.O.O.D.S. programming, but the allure of trips continues to draw in many volunteers, and to differentiate the program from other after-school activities. Given its focus on the environment, W.O.O.D.S. continues to reach many volunteers by word of mouth, especially through Project WILD, but other students also learn about W.O.O.D.S. through the Community Service Center bulletin, the freshman activities fair, and increasingly through the W.O.O.D.S. website Most recently, the establishment of WOODSMONT in 2001 and 2002 suggests that W.O.O.D.S. will play an increasingly large role in Duke-Durham relations and as a leader among community service groups at Duke.

Table of Contents
1. An Introduction (Abby Horn)
2. The Center Leader (Joe Picoraro)
3. Objectives (Justin McCorcle and Tes Rivera)
4. A Perspective (Maggie Schneider)
5. A List of Activities (Abby Horn) [See full pdf version]
6. Arts and Crafts Ideas (Julie Griffin)
7. Conflict Intervention Strategies (from Camp Ketcha) [See full pdf version]
8. Policy
9. Permission Slip (a .doc file)

WOODS Webmaster Chris Paul,
Last Updated: 12 September 2005