To challenge middle school students to realize that their attitudes and actions have a lasting impact on their future, the environment and the people around them by using Common Core and Next Generation Science standards, character development, and the outdoors as an integrating context.
What Drives What We Do?
Our NorthBay team are incredibly gifted and passionate about serving people and being a positive influence in their lives. Whether its students in our education program or guests coming for a retreat, our staff love what they do and strive to constantly improve. But there is more to what makes us tick so we thought we would share a few insights into the heart of our philosophy.
NorthBay was the product of a visionary individual who wanted to lay a positive marker down in children’s lives by changing the way they experience education, view their potential and interact with the world around them. To this day that core vision remains at the heart of everything we do and keeps us focused on the most important challenges and opportunities. By staying focused on this vision we ensure that we use our resources most efficiently and effectively to achieve the greatest possible impact on the people we serve.
Since the initial concept of NorthBay was conceived we’ve always been about maximum possible impact on the people we serve. From the design of our state of the art facility to the programs we create and deliver we look to make the biggest and most positive impact with everything we do. By empowering tomorrow’s leaders to be good decision makers and positive role models we lay the foundation for personal achievement and environmental stewardship. Empowerment like so many things is nothing without meaningful action. We not only aim to empower students to make good decisions in their lives but to also take action to affect positive change in their lives, the lives of others and the environment.
Above all else we are all about people! Our team, students, teachers, administrators, parents and our retreat guests are why we exist as an organization. While traditional environmental education programs are primarily about the environment we adopt a more holistic people centered approach to environmental education. If students can’t make good choices in facing the challenges of their everyday lives there is little chance that they will be able to make a positive contribution to their communities and environment. By forging a positive connection to people through a variety of mediums we hold the key to influencing the type of people and citizens they are to become and the affect positive change in the way they care for themselves and the world around them.
As one of the country’s leading environmental education and character development organizations we are at the forefront of innovation in experiential learning. We know what we do well and constantly seek ways to improve upon it. Every year the effectiveness of our program is evaluated by a team of external assessors from some of the country’s leading colleges. This data based approach coupled with direct input from the people we serve is disseminated and shared by our staff as we constantly seek improvement through creativity and innovation.
NorthBay is about character development and leadership, beginning with our staff striving to set a good example. By being good role models and working with honesty, integrity and accountability we demonstrate these attributes to others and lay the foundation to pass this approach on to the people we serve.
At NorthBay we create an environment where respect and caring is valued by being respectful and caring towards our co-workers, students, guests, community and the environment. We value diverse opinions and approaches to problem solving and the execution of our mission.
In 2002 the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a request from the Baltimore based Erickson Foundation to lease 97 of 2,200 acres within the Elk Neck State Park in Cecil County, Maryland. The product of a unique public/private partnership between the Erickson Foundation, the Maryland State Department of Education and the Department of Natural Resources, NorthBay opened its doors to students in 2005.
The Erickson Foundation was founded by John and Nancy Erickson and their children to provide a platform for their charitable work in the greater Baltimore area. John Erickson had long envisioned creating a camp experience for underserved children, challenging them to realize that their choices and attitude have a lasting impact on their future, the environment and the people around them.
The Maryland State Department of Education approved NorthBay curriculum was specifically designed for sixth grade students from a variety of demographics. The goal of the program is to provide a high energy, academically rigorous and engaging science curriculum that inspires students to take responsibility for their surroundings and decisions. NorthBay in turn connects student driven environmental studies with the most trying social challenges facing adolescents today, teaching them that education and personal growth are the keys to success.
The state-of-the-art NorthBay facility also serves as a retreat center for groups both large and small. From small corporate retreats and weddings to large youth retreats NorthBay’s location, facilities and staff combine to create the perfect setting for our guests.
From serving 4,400 students in its first year of operation NorthBay’s intensive five day/four night environmental education and character development program now serves over 10,000 public school students each year. Additional educational programs such as the Chesapeake Wilderness Institute and the NorthBay Extended (NEXT) program serve an additional 8,000 students while over 14,000 retreat guests stay at NorthBay each year.