CA’s Outdoor Program is a hands-on way to learn about enjoyment of and stewardship for our environment. CA offers outdoor trips as part of the curriculum beginning as early as third grade, as well as optional weekend trips for students in Lower, Middle, and Upper schools. Trips have included snowshoeing for younger students, and hiking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, and backcountry skiing for Middle and Upper School students.
Colorado Academy outdoor education leaders include current faculty members and other experts who are experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Many trip leaders have worked for prominent organizations such as Wilderness Ventures, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and Outward Bound. They are certified in CPR, and many are also trained as Wilderness First responders; all are trained to follow safety protocols. On Interim and foreign trips, we often have professional vendors in addition to CA faculty members that help to guide trips.
Maximizing Challenge, Minimizing Risk
As part of our philosophy to develop inquisitive minds and reflective citizens, Colorado Academy students and staff offer experiences, both domestic and international, that challenge students emotionally and physically. These opportunities to encounter personal success as well as experience failure are instrumental in creating authentic learning that are vital elements of a Colorado Academy education.
We believe in the benefits of developmentally appropriate risks that push students to gain judgment and decision-making. We must accept that a defining characteristic of adventure is that outcomes are uncertain. At Colorado Academy, there is an underlying conviction that venturing into uncertain territory, with well-planned and intentional goals, yields precisely the holistic developmental gains that are needed in our community. At a recent TEDx event hosted at CA, Christopher Barnes, the founder of the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, articulated the "Merits of Risk" in his presentation of how risk is married to experience. Watch it here
CA has an ongoing focus on managing risks, while at the same time providing real challenges to our students. We ask students and parents to acknowledge that we cannot eliminate inherent risks that are vital to the integrity of our outdoor and travel programs. We also work to teach students that each person on a trip or outing shares in the responsibility for his or her own well-being, as well as that of others.