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Northwood Outing Club relaunched with new director

Bobby O’Connor (Photo provided)

LAKE PLACID — Northwood School administration announced June 3 the appointment of Robert “Bobby” O’Connor II as Northwood Outing Club director with oversight of the Education and Adventure program.

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 state-licensed guide, wilderness first responder, certified whitewater, kayaking/canoeing, and climbing wall instructor. He has received advanced training in New York state wildland search skills, challenge course technology and avalanche response. He received a Bachelor of Science degree (2013) and Master of Science degree (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 and accelerate our outdoor programming,” Michael J. Maher, head of school, said in a press release. “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. The 2021-22 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,” said Athletic Director Gino Riffle. “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 2021-22 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 relaunch 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.

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