While the Ketchum Campus has proven to be a game changer for Community School students, faculty, and members of the Sun Valley Ski Academy (SVSA) and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF), it is also becoming an invaluable resource for many charitable and educational organizations. In fact, last summer, through partnerships with Community School, numerous groups made the Ketchum Campus their home for part of the summer. Beginning shortly after regular session classes concluded, the beautiful new facility welcomed students, athletes, and artists who utilized the comfortable residential suites, state-of-the-art training center, dining hall, and comfortable communal spaces.
In June, students who live outside the Wood River Valley but who wanted to take advantage of Community School’s extensive Summer Term for-credit offerings, moved into the Ketchum Campus for three weeks. “About 15 students taking summer courses enjoyed staying in the Residence Hall,” said Mike Wade, Director of Summer Programs. “It was great to be able to offer them this option.”
Then, some of the top youth cross country athletes in the nation attended an invitation-only camp in Sun Valley and moved into the Ketchum Campus for their stay in July. Head SVSEF Nordic coach Rick Kapala explained, “SVSEF and the Community School hosted the U.S. Ski Team National U16 Camp, which assembled the top U16 junior cross country skiers from across the country for a week of intense training, sport education, and team building. Fifty of the top skiers from Maine to Alaska came to the Community School campus and we were excited to show them what a tremendous place Sun Valley is to be a cross country ski racer. This was also a great opportunity to showcase Community School and the Ketchum Campus to a group of young people who are exactly the type of skiers and student-athletes who would be a great fit for the SVSA. The new dorm is a game changer for a project like this, as it provides the key logistical piece that was missing before when we’d look at these type of projects.”
In August, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony partnered once again with Community School, housing their Summer Music Institute Advanced Camp students at the Ketchum Campus. “We have been partnering with the Community School for several years and were thrilled to have the opportunity to house some of our students at the Residence Hall,” said Kim Gasenica, the Symphony’s Education Programs Director. Students also work with some of the leading classical musicians in the country at classes held at the Trail Creek Campus.
For the first time, the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team held a training camp in Sun Valley in August and made the Residence Hall their home base. Event host Guy Robins said, “We were really excited to welcome this group. It was their Western Clinic and gave the coaches an opportunity to see some of the up-and-coming young fly fishermen from around the nation. They were scouting for potential team members for the USA National Team. Participants traveled to Ketchum from all over the nation and Bret Bishop, a current team captain and a Community School graduate, attended the event, creating a great bridge between the organization and the school.” Guy explained that the Ketchum Campus was the boys’ home away from home. “All meals were taken there except for riverside lunches,” he said. “Evening events such as fly tying and competition strategy took place in the game room. The USAFFT staff was super impressed with our facilities, waters, and the community in general. Hopefully this will be the first of many annual events here in Sun Valley.”
Also for the first time, NOLS Wilderness Medicine operated three different wilderness medicine training courses at Community School and housed their instructors at the Ketchum Campus.
Bookings have already begun for next year, according to Mike. He said, “Ballet Idaho Academy has reserved our Residence Hall for two weeks for the summer of 2018 for their Summer Intensive Workshop for advanced dancers. That will bring 35 dancers and instructors to the valley next summer. It’s really exciting to see what the Ketchum Campus is helping to make possible.”
Head of School Ben Pettit agreed, “A true community school can be defined as a school that partners with other local nonprofits to elevate the educational civic experience of all. The Ketchum Campus was built with this public purpose in mind, and we are delighted that the educational community-building vision for the facility is coming to fruition. We are also thrilled to support and maintain partnerships with all of these wonderful, mission-aligned organizations to create a more robust and vibrant experience for both the residents and visitors to the Wood River Valley.”