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Outdoor Program Announcement

Bobby O’Connor to Lead Outdoor Program

Northwood Outing Club Re-Emerges  

Lake Placid, New York, June 3, 2020 — Northwood School administration announces the appointment of Robert “Bobby” O’Connor II to Northwood Outing Club (NOC) Director with oversight of the  Education and Adventure Program. In tandem, he will be restoring the identity and historical roots of the Northwood Outing Club. The program will be focused on outdoor experiences open to all students for the 2021-2022 academic year.   

O’Connor is an avid outdoor professional with expedition and teaching experience in paddling, rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. He is an NYS licensed guide, wilderness first responder, certified whitewater, kayaking/canoeing, and climbing wall instructor. He has received advanced training in NYS wildland search skills, challenge course technology, and avalanche response. O’Connor received a B.S. (2013) and M.S. (2017) in Expeditionary Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh. Before Northwood, O’Connor was a recreation professor at Paul Smith’s College and the Outdoor/Adventure Education Coordinator overseeing the infrastructure necessary for running the outdoor programs.    

“Bobby’s energy and experience in education and the outdoor industry is an ideal match to rekindle NOC, fill the big footsteps of retired teacher Don Mellor ‘71, and accelerate our outdoor programming,” states Michael J. Maher, Head of School. “Northwood NOC alumni fondly remember the campfires and the wilderness skills they learned from NOC experiences to this day.”    

Northwood School has a rich tradition of athletics and outdoor recreation dating back to its founding in 1905. Northwood students have been experiencing a wide range of outdoor activities ever since. The 2021-2022 Northwood Outing Club (NOC) program is designed for aspiring outdoor enthusiasts to build a lifelong passion for adventure sports while utilizing world-class venues and unique assets within the Adirondack Park, North America, and internationally. Students will develop soft and hard skills, environmental stewardship, risk management procedures, and leadership skills while working closely and collaborating with faculty, staff, and professional guides.  

“Northwood’s founding principles include a balance of rigorous academics, appreciation for the natural beauty of the Adirondack Mountains, and unique co-curricular opportunities,” states Gino Riffle, Athletic Director.  “This new dimension of our outdoor program will continue to support this balance while also providing flexible co-curricular programming for all students and wilderness leadership and stewardship opportunities for those students seeking advanced outdoor skills.”   

The courses offered under NOC will align with the guiding principle of Northwood’s experiential learning LEAP program launched in 2017.  Intro to Climbing (Terms 1 or 2), Intro to Paddle Sports (Term 3), and Expedition Planning/Avalanche Awareness (full-year course) are the academic courses available as electives for the 2021-2022 academic year.   

Several outdoor recreation activities within the disciplines of climbing, paddling, backcountry and front country skiing, backpacking, wilderness navigation, and outdoor living skills will be available under the NOC co-curricular. NOC will be available as a one-trimester or continual three-trimester program to allow student-athletes across different co-curricular activities to participate.   

“I’m honored and excited to carry forward the momentum built by Don Mellor,” said O’Connor. “With the rich history of NOC as a foundation, our unique Adirondack assets, and a caring and curious student body, I look forward to developing unique outdoor recreational offerings, fostering environmental stewardship, and furthering the place-based learning experience.”  

In celebration, Northwood School will re-launch NOC with alumni at Reunion 2021, June 25-26. Bridging the new and the old, Northwood alumni are requested to “tell us about your NOC experience” to inspire a new generation of NOC enthusiasts.