Camp Nuhop Update
By Nuhop Executive Director Trevor Dunlap
The Nuhop Center for Experiential Learning home of Camp Nuhop acquired The Mohican School of the Outdoors Property in August. 2021. There is so much more to the story than a transaction between two nonprofit organizations. The Mohican School was the first outdoor education center in the state of Ohio, founded by Ron and Deb Reed. It was the Mohican School that gave Nuhop co-founder, Jerry Dunlap, an opportunity to student teach at the school when he was a senior at Ashland College in the late 1960s. The teaching experience was the impetus for Jerry and his wife Terrie to open Camp Nuhop in 1974 as a residential summer camp for children with special needs.
Over the years, Nuhop expanded and had the opportunity to serve beyond summer camp. In the 1980s, school districts asked Nuhop to engage their students and Nuhop’s Outdoor School was born. Nuhop expanded into teacher training and team-building programs for schools and organizations. Nuhop built its first ropes course in the late 1990s. Fast forward to 2020, Nuhop was slated to serve even more youth with a total census of around 3,600 students for outdoor education and over 500 children at summer camp. The pandemic hit and Nuhop had an 85% drop in revenue in 2020.
Yet innovation, creativity, and tenacity were in its DNA and the Nuhop team created an at-home outdoor education program that went viral and was seen in over 130 countries, and was consumed by over 85,000 people worldwide. Although the project was free to its user base, it led to additional pay-for-service projects that included building a web-based outdoor education program for a wilderness company in Nairobi, Kenya, and live-stream outdoor education programs for the Chula Vista school district in San Diego, CA. It was due to this work that Nuhop was featured in Green Teacher Magazine, The Talking with Green Teachers Podcast as well as seminars with the OSU EPN (Environmental Professionals Network).
Nuhop's strategic plan included the goal to either purchase adjacent property or expand to another campus. Over the years, Nuhop had a collaborative relationship with The Mohican School of the Outdoors and had been in talks for a decade about a more formal relationship. With the bankruptcy of the Mohican School, Nuhop was able to fulfill its goal of expanding its footprint to serve more youth and groups. The Nuhop board decided to purchase the site. It is due to this acquisition that Nuhop can meet the demand of school districts that want to engage students in outdoor learning. This academic year, Nuhop is slated to serve over 6,500 youth in outdoor education.
“We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve more youth due to the purchase of the Mohican School property. We understand that we are privileged to continue the legacy of the original outdoor education program in the state of Ohio on this site. We recognize that we are the caretakers of this land and are privileged to engage youth through Nuhop’s mission of providing a safe, nurturing, and dynamic learning environment where people are empowered to succeed,” said Trevor Dunlap, the son of the Nuhop founders.
The Richland County Foundation has supported both Nuhop and The Mohican School of the Outdoors over the years. Nuhop is glad that it can use the Mohican school for its intended use of teaching kids in the out of doors.
Today, Nuhop manages and engages groups on both of its campuses. Nuhop is on track to serve over 10,000 people in all its programs and service streams in 2023. To learn more about Nuhop visit www.nuhop.org.