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OUTDOORS TOMORROW FOUNDATION NAMES AZLE, TEXAS’ LISA HELMS
AS EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
2022 Honoree Is Motivated to Share Her Love
for the Outdoors with the Next Generation
DALLAS – Feb. 1, 2022 – The leading provider of in-school outdoor education to schools nationwide – the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation – named Azle (Texas) High School’s Lisa Helms as its 2022 Educator of the Year.
The OTF Outdoor Adventures program that Helms teaches is a fun, interactive course where students learn lifelong skills including angler education, archery, hunter education, boater education, orienteering, survival skills, camping, outdoor cooking, challenge courses, backpacking, mountain bike camping, paddle sports, rock climbing, shooting sports, CPR/first aid and fauna, flora and wilderness medicine.
“This class means so much to me personally because I had the opportunity to grow up in the outdoors,” Helms said. “I was blessed for my family to take me on camping trips and more, and now I get to share that with my students. That means more to me than anything.”
Helms has taught Outdoor Adventures for eight years to more than 800 students with more than 30 percent of them earning their certifications in Hunter and Boater Education. She teaches the full range of the Outdoor Adventures curriculum including survival skills, camping, fishing, fly fishing, kayaking, rock climbing and much, much more.
“Despite all the challenges presented to educators by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa persevered and innovated to keep teaching kids about the outdoors,” said OTF Executive Director Sean McLelland. “Lisa’s joy, energy and enthusiasm for what she does drive her program, and it is the most popular course at Azle High School.”
In fact, in recognition of the impact she has on her students, Azle Independent School District allowed her to step out of coaching and teach Outdoor Adventures full time.
Just a few of hundreds of student stories show the difference Helms is making. One student told her he found his new life passion the day they left a rock-climbing gym. Another was beaming as he recounted harvesting a doe on only his second hunting trip.
In a typical day, student after student stops by her classroom to ask her for additional advice as they prepare for their newest adventures. Her former students share every year how they went camping, fishing, hunting, rock climbing and hiking all because she instilled in them a love for their new outdoor passions.
Helms received her award Jan. 7 at the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention.
Founded in 1981 in Dallas, Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Schools pay just $1,000 for teachers to receive OTF’s Outdoor Adventures curriculum, training and ongoing support. For many schools, grant money offsets the cost, plus OTF offers matching funds for equipment as new schools join the program. The resulting classes can be taught as a P.E. course, local elective or with agricultural science and wildlife management.
The OTF’s Outdoor Adventures K-12 curriculum is currently in 768 schools in 44 states with more than 75,000 students enrolled in the program. There were more than 15,000 Hunter Education certifications earned in 2021 in Texas alone. To learn more about the OTF, go to www.GoOTF.com.
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Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation
Since 1981, the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation (OTF) has made its mission to teach outdoor education and promote wildlife conservation through the Outdoor Adventures program, currently in 719 schools across the country. The curriculum, impacting more than 350,000 students since it began, is accessed by 75,000 students annually in 44 states, including archery, shooting, fishing, camping, first aid, boater safety, hunter education, outdoor cooking and more. The OTF also provides grants for equipment, free workshops and teacher training and is accredited by state parks and wildlife commissions from each state. More info about Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation, and how to bring the Outdoor Adventure curriculum to a school near you, go to gootf.com.