Interim - Each spring, students in Upper School participate in weeklong Interim trips designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that broaden their skills, test their abilities, and sharpen the awareness of the world in which they live. Whether they engage in artistic pursuits, service learning trips, or wilderness expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains, students and CA alumni often describe this program as one of their favorite CA memories.
- A weeklong immersive experiential program that includes the arts, outdoors, physiology, community engagement.
- Promotes community building through small group interactions and cross grade interactions.
- Provides challenging, hands-on experience.
- Promotes student leadership through trip planning and execution.
- Fosters grit and resilience through physically and psychologically challenging activities.
Examples of past Interims include: Kayaking the Western Slope, Exploring the Canyonlands, Shoshoni Yoga, Blacksmithing, Ceramics in the Wild, Archaeology in the Four Corners, Toy Shop, Gourmet Heaven, and more. In a typical year, 30+ Interim choices are offered.Belize: Environmental Field Studies
This science-focused Interim is an opportunity for students to participate in meaningful, multi-day biological research projects in Belize. As time permits, other activities might include snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and rainforest exploration. This Interim is open to Juniors and Seniors and is the culminating event for a technical science writing course taught during the third trimester as a Junior/Senior writing seminar. The journey begins exploring the Mayan ruins of Caracol, the Belize Wildlife Sanctuary, and the research taking place at the Belize Zoo. The heart of this experience is the four days spent at a remote research station, conducting scientific research and contributing to ongoing research projects. Probable topics include marine gas exchange, coral conservation, competition among marine species, and algae farming by damselfish.
Recent Experiential Education Optional Local Activities:
Trip ratings range from easy and moderate to difficult and from beginner and intermediate to advanced skill levels. These excursions are published annually, offered on weekends throughout the school year, filled on a first-come, first-served sign-up basis, charge a nominal fee, and are usually led by CA faculty and staff.
South Platte River Fly Fishing
Fishermen explore Colorado’s rivers and streams and get a lot of skill practice in patience and attention to detail. Students learn about watershed dynamics, fly-fishing strategy, fly pattern selection, and fish behavior. They learn to cast a fly rod, manage a line, hook and land trout, and take part in a quintessential Western sport.
- foster patience and attention to detail
- bond with classmates outside of the classroom
Rifle Mountain Park Climbing
Rifle Mountain Park offers the best limestone sport climbing in North America. Rifle is approximately three hours west of Denver, near the town of Rifle, Colo. On this trip, students receive instruction on technical skills, climb spectacular sport routes, camp, and cook meals together. No prior experience is necessary.
- learning climbing movement and terminology
- learning belaying principles
- understanding the construction and strength of climbing equipment, including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and helmets
- encouraging responsible risk taking and the benefits of challenge
- fostering teamwork through effective belaying, coaching and support
- learning about belay and climber safety checks and effective communication
The Eldorado Hut is located five miles west of Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colo. The path into the hut winds through aspen forest for the first mile and gradually zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. At the hut, views from the south window include a panorama of Bald Eagle Mountain and the 14,421-foot Mount Massive. Only one mile from the hut is fun glade skiing on Mushroom Mountain, and after returning from a tour, participants fire up the wood-burning sauna to finish off a great day in the Colorado backcountry.
Ice Climbing in Lake City
- learning winter travel skills
- providing opportunities for cross-grade interactions
- promoting the principles of self-care (hydration, hypothermia, nutrition, pacing, etc.)
- providing a novel experience
- learning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals
- learning to build a minimal fire
- observing winter weather patterns
- identifying avalanche terrain, snow instabilities, and how to travel safely in the backcountry
The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice-climbing site in a beautiful natural gorge near Ouray, Colo. There is even a special area just for beginners. Home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, it has been called the best place in the world to develop ice-climbing skills. This trip is designed for beginners, and no prior climbing experience is necessary.
Recent Exchange Programs
Hutchesons’ Grammar School,Glasgow, Scotland
This exchange program includes a two-week homestay experience with a Scottish family and attending regular classes at Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Students also participate in a variety of activities with their host families, such as exploring the Scottish countryside. CA families host the Scottish students for approximately two weeks in the fall.
Colombia: Spanish Language & Culture Immersion
With Colombia’s turbulent past rapidly receding, the nation is in the midst of a boom. Economic growth, safety, and stability are on the rise in all corners of the country, and visitors are joyously rediscovering the remarkable diversity and warmth of this gateway to South America. This hybrid exchange and travel program allows students to connect with the Colombian people, from shadowing high school peers in the capital Bogotá to exploring Afro-Indigenous traditions in the Caribbean port town of Cartagena. Two weeks after returning home, with Spanish still fresh on their tongues, students have the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality.Colegio Virgen de Europa , Madrid, Spain
CA students are paired with Madrid students to promote and improve their cultural and linguistic awareness. This exchange encourages students to build confidence and fluency in a second language and go out into the world to experience another culture firsthand. Central to this experience is the homestay, because it gives participants interaction with native speakers and language use in natural context. The school provides opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, for students to understand and explore the culture of the other country. CA students travel in the fall and host in the following spring.
Current Travel Programs, Interim and Optional
Authentic Mexico Adventure - Service Adventure
- Spring Break
Students will immerse themselves in the true fabric of Mexico, including art, food, culture, language, and history. This experience includes exploring Mexico City’s vibrant art scene, rural homestays, adventure travel, and meaningful service projects guided by community partners.
Mexico’s perfect white sand beaches, rugged canyons, tropical jungles, and arid plains are inhabited by some of the world’s nicest people, all of whom enjoy some of the world’s best food. The same is true for Mexico’s megacities, colonial hamlets, and dusty outposts. Our neighbor to the south truly has it all, yet few visitors experience the real Mexico. Our programs will show travelers the true fabric of Mexico, from small food stalls of Mexico City to pre-Columbian Zapotec ruins, as we travel between Mexico City, Puebla, and beyond.Chinese Language Immersion in Vancouver - Language Immersion
- Spring Break
This trip gives students a fantastic opportunity to explore the multicultural Asian environment of Vancouver. With almost 30% of its population as ethnic Chinese, the city and its surrounding
suburbs are rife with historic sites and distinct neighborhoods that reflect a rich heritage. Students will practice language skills in many fun activities like Mahjong workshop, dumpling/dim sum making, calligraphy, and Chinese art.Colombia Adventure - Service and Language Immersion
Students will have the opportunity to explore the historic center of Medellin and complete homestays and service projects in the remote and picturesque village of Jardin de Antioquia. The group will immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of Colombia and gain a valuable understanding of the conflict resolution and peace process that has transformed Colombia in recent years from civil war into a vibrant and welcoming country.The Island School, Eleuthera, Bahamas - Marine Science & Field Research
This experience offers students the ability to step outside their comfort zone to focus on experiential learning and field and ocean research at one of the top facilities in the Caribbean. Students will build on science coursework in environmental chemistry and climate change, as they explore topics such as ocean acidification and renewable energy. This transformative experience encourages students to take a leadership role, enabling them to make meaningful changes in their own communities.Iceland - Photography, Climate Science, Travel -
Calling all intrepid photographers and scientists who have a thirst for adventure. Let us explore the amazing nation, Iceland, and investigate how we could be leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
Our trip takes you to the most spectacular and otherworldly landscapes in a nation that prides itself on zero use of fossil fuels and single-use plastics. Whether it be enormous glacier lagoons where icebergs float and flow out with the tide to the shores of the black sand beach. Where we may also see seals, puffins, and the gentle giants of the sea, whales. This trip will be unforgettable and one in which you will return with a newfound appreciation of the world and how we can work towards creating such sustainability and conservation here in Denver.