Observations: Keeping Close to Nature

"Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir

Many of our students have recently ventured out with their class on our Outdoor Program's annual Winter Trips. Students and teachers exploring the wilderness together is the stuff memories and grit are made of. 

Depending on the class, the trip will unfold in different ways. For the multi-day trips, some classes go point-to-point and overnight in yurts; others camp in the snow and build snow caves for additional shelter. And still others stay in rustic cabins. No matter the accommodations, this time spent unplugged, disconnected, without the conveniences (and distractions) of modern life, has been a part of our school's DNA since the beginning. The founding families understood the need we all have to wash our spirits clean through our experiences in the outdoors. And the need to do that has only gotten stronger as our lives have become more digital.  

Time in the wild was and still is essential to our identity as a community, and it's essential to the trajectory of growth we see in our students. Is there any better way to develop grit and perseverance than learning to build a fire that you'll depend on for food and water in winter conditions. Is there any better way to quiet the noise from our everyday lives than going for a long skate ski or snowshoe under a canvas of snow-covered conifers, a blue sky peeking through on occasion and then retiring to camp to listen to stories from your peers and teachers, play a round of cards, and listen to the crackle of the fire you helped build.

If this is what it means to stay close to Nature's heart, sign us up again and again.