The Outdoor Leadership program is a key component of The Academy Experience and is a required elective beginning in kindergarten and spanning through 8th grade.
With developmentally-appropriate curriculum and activities, the class provides SAA boys opportunities to engage in meaningful and relevant outdoor activities that will support the school’s mission and foster academic achievement, appropriate behavior, and leadership skills.
For kindergarten through 2nd grade, students’ connection with nature is sparked early on with programming focusing primarily on exploring their natural environments. Students are provided with fundamental knowledge about animal identification and ecosystems so that when they enter Elementary School, they can understand the importance of conservation and wildlife management. Lessons include units on outdoor survival, hiking safety, campfire safety, camping essentials, wildlife and plant identification, agriculture, and more.
Elementary and Middle School
Once students enter Elementary and Middle School grades, the Outdoor Leadership programming becomes increasingly challenging, adventurous, and rewarding. Students gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the outdoors as they discover their strengths and learn to become more effective leaders and cooperative team members. Valuable life skills like hunting, fishing, and camping are taught, with the boys learning the why and how behind them.
Students are offered the following opportunities:
- Hunters education certification upon successful completion of the course and state exam
- Boater education certification upon successful completion of the course and state exam
- Angler Education
- Shooting sports (archery, rifle, shotguns, laser handguns)
- Overnight hunting trips
- Live target practice/ range time
- Overnight camping trips
- Overnight hiking trips
- Kayaking and canoeing
- Outdoor cooking
- Basic outdoor first aid
- Wildlife conservation
Additionally, the program partners with City Kids Adventures in many of its weekend trips, offering the unique opportunity to engage, interact and continue to develop meaningful relationships with youth from different socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. CKA is a non-profit organization run by one of SAA’s Outdoor Leadership Teachers, Leon McNeil, which mentors inner-city youth from San Antonio through meaningful outdoor recreational opportunities, education, and service projects.