2025 Outdoor School Summit

The ANCA Outdoor School Summit brings together executive directors, education directors, and other leadership staff from outdoor schools across North America. These organizations share the unique challenges of housing and feeding students for multiple days, and the Outdoor School Summit fosters a space to solve problems and build connections in this particular field. ANCA holds the Outdoor School Summit in person every two years.

The 2025 Outdoor School Summit will be January 10-14 at NorthBay in North East, Md. Please save the date for now and check back here later for more information.

What are Outdoor Schools?

Outdoor schools are educational organizations offering immersive and overnight programs that connect participants to nature and each other. These programs are youth-based and academic, focused primarily on public school partnerships where students and classroom teachers stay for multiple days and nights, sharing educational activities, meals, and sleeping accommodations. While outdoor schools hold most programs outdoors, they also have indoor spaces such as classrooms, labs, dining halls, and dormitories to comfortably accommodate students, classroom teachers, and other adult chaperones.

The Outdoor School Summit is the single most useful gathering of practitioners in the country for residential EE programs. Imagine all of the biggest challenges you have at your center, and in this one weekend gathering you will leave with ideas and ways to approach all of them ... from people who have been in the same place as you!

— John DiDiego, Education Director, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

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About NorthBay

Located on a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay, NorthBay’s campus will offer a scenic waterfront setting for Outdoor School Summit participants. Operating since 2005, NorthBay has an impressive array of facilities, including:

  • Lodging for 700, with a variety of cabins, bunk rooms, and hotel-style rooms
  • A dining hall with 600-person capacity
  • An adaptable high-tech theater
  • An expansive gymnasium, appropriate for multiple sports and activities
  • A variety of adventure elements such as a high ropes course, zipline, and both indoor and outdoor climbing walls

NorthBay is situated in Elk Neck State Park, which spans over 2,000 acres that include forests, marshlands, white clay cliffs, and sandy shorelines. The Park offers hiking trails and amenities such as the Turkey Point Lighthouse, which provides expansive views of the Chesapeake Bay.

NorthBay is ten minutes from North East, a charming town with local shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The nearest airports are the Philadelphia International Airport (an hour’s drive) and the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (an hour and fifteen minutes).


Curious about the Outdoor School Summit? Here are some frequently asked questions about the event.