It was Tom LaMonica’s vision for a truly unique educational experience that inspired the incorporation of Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in the spring of 1981. With the help of colleagues such as David Pines, Craig Dobkin, Rita Yerkes and Paul Stephenson, Tom created leadership programs that challenged traditional methods of education, and encouraged success through shared outdoor experiences. In his words, “Learning by doing instead of learning by reading or writing is an easy way to put it. Instead of reading the solution or writing it down and being graded on it, here you actually engage with your group members mentally and physically to solve the problem together. Gaining input from everyone and then executing the plan… it doesn’t always happen the first time, but there is value in failure, as well as in success.” Years of dedicated and passionate individuals have nurtured these concepts and this vision, allowing Genesee Valley to become one of the largest challenge courses in the country.

While the LaMonica family still owns the forests, lakes, fields and farmland that comprise the 150-acre property, they generously welcome students and community members to share in the beauty and lessons of the land.

In the fall of 2010, we were saddened to announce Tom LaMonica’s passing. Inspired by his passion for Genesee Valley, we are determined to continue Tom’s legacy of providing opportunities for learners of all ages to experience the wonders of the outdoors, and the wonders of the human spirit.