Nature, education and sports are all in ‘SCOPE’

In central Wisconsin, community non-profit enhances youth connection with the outdoors

The mission of Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) can be summed up into a simple goal for youth in Wisconsin.

Do more stuff outside.

Established in 2008, SCOPE has provided a platform for over 15 years in Hayward, WI for youth to not only participate in more outdoor sports and activities, but also to learn about their natural surroundings and learn sustainable practices in becoming environmental stewards.

“There’s more to it beyond just having fun outside and staying active,” says DJ Aderman, president of SCOPE and one of its founding members. “We want to create the next round of natural resource professionals in different disciplines and inspire them to help manage the outdoors.”

Over 1,000 kids are supported by SCOPE each year in a variety of ways. The organization covers program registration fees, provides equipment and tools when necessary, and puts together teams for participation in tournaments and competition.

Tucked away in the forest neighboring Hayward, SCOPE also operates a lodge that welcomes school and community groups. The site provides even more opportunity for outdoor activities and learning, hosting groups for winter camping, geology classes and canoeing activities, to name a few.

“We want to see the property used to its full potential—it can only do so much in its current state,” says Aderman. “Through our plans this year, we’ll be able to expand the capacity for youth groups and community groups to take in the natural setting.”

This summer, the lodge will be getting a major upgrade. SCOPE plans to build an Environmental Outdoor Education Center and increase accessibility to water access points, such as the nearby Hay Creek watershed. Here, students will learn about habitat remediation and conservation.

Enbridge is committed to creating sustainable communities near our operations, and supports projects that help improve, grow and nurture our environment. A recent Enbridge $20,000 Fueling Futures grant will help SCOPE build that outdoor classroom pavilion, and improve accessibility to the nearby lake and springs.

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The classroom pavilion will also involve the neighboring Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians, who are expected to become collaborators on the education center as it nears completion.

Aderman says the organization plans to break ground on the new pavilion by the end of May with a goal of being open and fully operational by mid-September.

SCOPE has a long-term vision focused on conservation efforts, and local youths may be gaining access to even more outdoor activity opportunities soon. The organization has it sights set on partnering with a nearby landowner to build cross-country skiing trails, hiking paths and a geocaching course.

“The learning that takes place at our programs is just amazing,” says Aderman. “We’ve been around long enough now that some adults have come back to us reflecting on the activities they participated in with us as kids, and what an impact it’s had on them.”

Adds Aderman: “We know we’ve made an impact when we hear: ‘Wow, how cool is our community?’”

(TOP PHOTO: SCOPE will be improving lakeside access at this boat landing, and building an outdoor classroom paviliion, in Sawyer County, WI in the summer of 2023.)