Provider Pals© is a cultural exchange program that links urban classrooms, rural classrooms, and the people who get their hands dirty every day - farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, oil field workers, commercial fishermen, and others who provide the basics of everyday life. These diverse cultures join together to teach each other about their very different ways of life and to address the fundamental question “Where does my stuff come from?”.
I. Classrooms Adopt A Provider
When a teacher is identified who would like the program in his or her classroom, a Provider Pal is adopted by the class for the school year. The Provider Pal can be a farmer, rancher, miner, logger, commercial fisherman, oil field worker or even a telephone company lineman.
Classrooms get to know their Provider Pal through videos, letters, photo albums and the Internet. Teachers are offered federally approved cross curricular teaching tools that are designed to acquaint students with rural America and rural Canada’s resource-based culture. Students learn about their Provider Pal’s profession and culture: what he or she does in a typical day, what raw materials they produce, what everyday products are made form those raw materials, and how they work to help protect the environment.
Students meet their Provider Pal face to face during Earth Day month. The Provider Pal brings the tools of their trade into the classroom so students can "walk in their Pal’s shoes." Students get the opportunity to meet and ask important questions that reflect their reality and culture. They also put on their Pal’s work gear and have their picture taken with their Pal. At the end of the program, every student receives a certificate signed by their Pal – this certificate deems them a ‘Pal’ of someone who provides their ‘Stuff’.
II.“The City Lights Experience”
Rural Students Experience Urban Culture:
Selected rural Provider Pal students spend five days visiting with their peers in an inner-city classroom, enjoying educational tours of the city, and attending urban cultural events. They are given the experiences of a big city, meeting their peers and learning what city life is like. The selection process varies from school to school. Details lists on the student exchange webpage.
III. The Montana Experience
Urban Students Experience Rural Culture:
Students and adult chaperones from the schools that participated in the Provider Pals program during the school year spend a week of their summer at Camp Raven. The Presidential Award winning Historic Raven Natural Resource Learning Center is located in beautiful northwestern Montana. The urban students are matched up with local, rural middle school students (who also stay at the camp) and the diverse groups of peers discover the culture of resource providing in an outdoor learning experience.
IV. Provider Pals Virtual Village
Provider Pals has two different website functions. Our main website is a
great place to find general information on the various aspects of the
Provider Pals program. Information pertaining to each of the resource
cultures, pictures, press releases, our program video, instructor access to
standardized course curricula, and much more can be found there. The
addition to the website is called 'Provider World.' This ground-breaking,
cross cultural online community will use interactive gaming, challenges,
and communication to fulfill educational objectives. You will be able to
enter this educational (yet fun!) virtual village from the main Provider Pal