A Treasured Smith County Heritage since the late 1940's
Conceived by the Kiwanis, led by D. K. & Lottie Caldwell, the dream began as a simple project to create a location for the Campfire Boys & Girls to have a summer camp. As other groups heard about the effort, more civic organizations participated with an eye to include other youth organizations during the summer. The Kiwanis and Mr. & Mrs. Caldwell realized that children were losing their roots to the land, nature, and soil as Tyler was becoming a more urban area. Soon the effort encompassed almost the entire Smith County Community.
The father of outdoor education, L. B. Sharp of New York once said:
"Construction of the facilities was done cooperatively by and for the whole community. In the late 40's, the community raised $250,000 for the project. Much of the actual work was done by skilled craftsmen who worked at their jobs during the week and then built the camp on weekends and in evenings. In 1948 the first youth groups began coming to Camp Tyler. In 1949, the first classes from the Tyler Schools came for outdoor school programs."
Today, Camp Tyler Outdoor School continues to provide outdoor education in "The Classroom Without Walls". Inquiry based education encourages students to ask "Why?", gather evidence, form conclusions, and decide how to apply their new knowledge to the world around them. Teachable moments capture the innate excitement, the "Aha!" moments that students naturally have about the world and its process.