The Glendale Outdoor Leadership School (GOLS) owes its founding to the town of Glendale's commitment to preserving and revitalizing itself in the face of significant economic challenges. Like many mill towns in South Carolina, Glendale has suffered economically since the closure of its textile operations. The community embarked on an "Imagine Glendale" visioning process in 2004, made possible with funding from Spartanburg's Mary Black Foundation. A priority for the town's residents was to preserve Glendale's historic structures, most importantly the Glendale United Methodist Church and accompanying buildings. The town tapped Palmetto Conservation Foundation to proceed with a plan to open an outdoor education and recreational leadership school that would restore and preserve Glendale's historic structures.
Just east of the thriving city of Spartanburg, Glendale is a perfect setting for an outdoor leadership school. The town sits on a ridge above the dramatic shoals of Lawson's Fork of the Pacolet River, making it an ideal place to learn how to kayak and enjoy our blueways. Nearby Croft State Park offers the school a convenient location for teaching mountain biking, hiking and more.
The existing buildings have limitless possibilities...from a place to learn how to use ropes courses and gain other skills helpful when participating in outdoor recreation, to a site for overnight leadership retreats, to a place to gather for educational seminars and environmental education. The educational component is key to teaching the importance of being wise stewards of our state's vast natural resources.
Fundamental to GOLS' mission is that it reaches out to all ages. Adults can adopt, or resume, healthier lifestyles, and children can learn these habits at a young age. Reaching our state's future leaders will result in immeasurable benefits for these individuals themselves and for the community at large. Redirecting children outside and away from modern technology will set the stage for a healthier generation who understands the value of preserving natural and historic resources.