Camp Fire Central Oregon Expands Environmental Program to Sisters Middle School


August 24, 2023


‘ExplOregon: Project Good Earth’ will boost accessibility to nature-based enrichment while giving kids a chance to connect to the outdoors, each other, and themselves.

Bend, Ore. –  A new environmental program for youth, launched in early 2023, is coming to Sisters this fall, thanks to a partnership between Camp Fire Central Oregon and Sisters Middle School. Registration opened on August 6 and spots are still available.

The Sisters-based program, called “ExplOregon: Project Good Earth,” is open to kids in Grades 6-8 and features five fabulous Fridays of afterschool outdoor exploration, enrichment and learning.

According to James DiRosa, Camp Fire Central Oregon’s outdoor and environmental coordinator, “ExplOregon was born out of Camp Fire’s mission to connect youth to the outdoors, to each other, and to themselves. This program is unique in that we do nature-based activities and adventures that touch many layers of this mission. We’re outside, engaging in the environment, and teaching kids to better understand and appreciate the natural world through dynamic ways, including art projects, nature activities, outdoor exploration, science and more.

“We’ve been running variations of the program in other Central Oregon communities and we’re thrilled to bring it to Sisters,” he says. “It’s intended to be a great complement to the middle school’s well-known focus on environmental education, giving more youth access to such programs and building more engagement around the outdoors.”

Project Good Earth runs Fridays, September 15 through October 20. (No meeting on October 13.) It is open to 12 youth, so DiRosa is encouraging families in the Sisters Country to sign up their middle schoolers as soon as possible to get a spot. Registration and more information can be found at Camp Fire Central Oregon offers financial assistance—details available here:


James DiRosa, Outdoor & Environmental Program Coordinator| Camp Fire Central Oregon (541) 203-3528; If contacting James either Thursday, 8/24 or Friday, 8/25 for an interview, please call/text the camp phone as it’s the only phone that works in his current camp location: (541)-639-9459

Katie Roberts, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator | Camp Fire Central Oregon (541) 299-2812

About Camp Fire Central Oregon
Founded in 1910, Camp Fire is a national organization that actively engages youth and teens in building essential skills for life. Camp Fire Central Oregon has been a local leader in youth development since 1916. The organization provides co-ed out-of-school time, teen service and leadership, camp and environmental programs. Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to help them find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.



When it came to physical health, we renovated bathrooms, paved walkways, and made other camp updates. When it came to child safety and abuse prevention, we continued to refine our national and local policies and procedures, working closely with youth protection experts at Praesidium, the national leader in abuse risk management. This continues to be a huge priority so we can meet the highest standards or have a clear path to get there.

And when it came to mental and emotional health, the toll and isolation of COVID-19 was immense; the U.S. Surgeon General just declared children’s mental health a national crisis, releasing a Youth Mental Health Advisory. To make sure we were ready for young people, we formed a new partnership with On Our Sleeves to offer mental health resources to our network. We also continued to expand education around the power of developmental relationships from The Search Institute. We focused program efforts around creating a safe space, the foundation for youth engagement and interaction, and measured for quality using Weikart Center’s Program Quality Assessment tool.

As we worked through our strategic plan that kicked off in early 2021, we also focused on equity. We addressed equity in both our professional development and in our programming, and we also worked on connecting social-emotional learning (SEL) to equity and explaining to our network why it matters for young people.

Lastly, we know that when a young person gets outside, magic happens. No matter how young people experience the outdoors — as something awesome and powerful to behold or something that catalyzes relationships with self or others, it is a place that everyone can access. It is a tool for positive youth development, and you can find the results and impact in these pages.

We all need connection. Despite COVID-19 and its barriers, Camp Fire was able to connect 68,546 youth and their families to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves, over the past year. We hope you enjoy this report and see the life-giving connections that make this work so important.




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