“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” --John Muir


The Outdoor Program at Community School is one of the largest in the Northwest and has been an integral part of the school since its inception.

Through challenging and inspiring outdoor experiences, the Community School Outdoor Program supports the school’s mission by fostering personal growth, teamwork and leadership; strengthening the relationships that are unique to our school; teaching wilderness skills; and providing opportunities for students to develop a love for wild places.

Community School students climb mountains and cliffs, run river rapids, explore wild coasts and deserts, and live in snow shelters. These experiences are natural extensions of classroom learning. Through these adventures students develop the confidence to take risks and overcome challenges and adversity. The trips build and nurture the relationships that are the cornerstone of a Community School education. Outdoor trips teach wilderness skills and help students to develop a love for wild places and environmental ethics that can enrich their lives and those of others. Community School believes wholeheartedly that the outdoor program not only promotes academic success but also helps students develop insights about themselves and the world that help them on their journey to adulthood. Embrace the adventure.  

Click here for Outdoor Program trip details.


Furthermore, building on 35 years of incorporating outdoor education into the Community School experience, the Outdoor Leadership Academy was designed in the fall of 2011 for students who wish to take their outdoor leadership expertise to a higher level.  The Outdoor Leadership Academy allows students to develop the skills, experience and certifications to lead outdoor trips.

“The Outdoor Leadership Academy was created for students whose primary goal is to develop their overall leadership abilities and who understand the leadership skills they develop on outdoor trips can be transferred to any setting,” stated Outdoor Program Director, Rob Landis.

The Outdoor Leadership Academy is open to Upper School students by application. This year, 10 students have recently been admitted to the program including freshmen Anders Fortuin, Will Harder, Jack Swanson and George Elliot; sophomores Taylor Adler and Nick Wright; and juniors Gunnar Ohlson; Zach Lindahl, Maranda Stopol and Ellie Swanson.

Outdoor Academy students are required to complete a core wilderness curriculum that includes courses in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Wilderness Navigation, Expedition Planning and Leadership, and Leave No Trace. Students must plan and lead trips, perform wilderness-based community service, and present a wilderness resume and portfolio.

Additionally, students select and complete one of the following specialized skill-based sections, each with its own requirements: Mountain and Rock, Winter Backcountry Travel, or River. In addition to support from experienced faculty members, students will be mentored and advised by community members who include some of the finest alpinists, rock climbers, river experts, and backcountry skiers in the country.

Sun Valley has an incredible array of outdoor experts, and the Outdoor Leadership Academy hopes to connect students with these experts through the mentor program and community service. Students who successfully complete the Outdoor Leadership Academy curriculum receive a certificate of completion and create a professional quality wilderness resume as part of their capstone project.

“Our new boarding facility will allow high school students from around the country who have an interest in outdoor leadership to come to Sun Valley and experience the wealth of opportunity found in the mountains, rivers and wilderness surrounding our school,” stated Landis.

For more information, please contact Rob Landis at 208.622.3955 ext. 121 or by email at rlandis@communityschool.org.