"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
— Henry Miller
One of the fundamental motivating ideas behind Sun Valley Community School is that "not all classrooms have walls." As April comes to an end and May makes her merry way into our lives, our Middle School students are knee-deep into their spring Outdoor Program trips and our Upper School students just returned from their outdoor adventures. What's on the Middle School adventure menu? The 6th grade is in Red Rocks, Nevada for a climbing and hiking outing; the 7th grade journeyed to Hell's Canyon for a river trip, and our 8th grade is backpacking through Utah's Grand Gulch. In April, our 9th grade ventured to Salt Lake City for a service learning trip; 10th graders traveled to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival, and our 11th grade students walked in the footsteps of Ed Abbey in the Canyonlands area of Utah for both a backpacking trip and a 48-solo. Our 12th graders recently returned from their Senior Projects, and will soon head to Utah for a 2-week excursion that includes a little river rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, and more. Their capstone trip before walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.
These outings are so much more than field trips. Certainly, they are trips in the field—whether that field is desert, river, mountains, or communities beyond our borders. These are immersive experiences that feed our students' passions and push them beyond their comfort zones. These are chances to connect with classmates and teachers, opportunities to reflect on where they've been and where they're going. The Outdoor Program and spring trip cycle celebrates the idea that learning and growth happens everywhere. No matter where these trips go, our students engage with new ways of seeing the world around them. They learn more about how to engage with that world and really inhabit it—actively, thoughtfully, and intentionally.
So, no, it's not about the destination, it's all about the mark these experiences make on us and the mark we can make on the world when we see it with eyes that have paid attention along the way. That's why we go.