Upper School

The four overarching goals of Sun Valley Community School’s Outdoor Program are to:

  • Build relationships;
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth;
  • Develop relationships with wild places;
  • Teach outdoor skills.

These goals are reflected in the Upper School Outdoor Program curriculum, when students become true partners in programming.

The oldest Cutthroats are expected to be active, enthusiastic participants in their four trips each year, including Fall Campout. Route planning, map reading, trip preparation, menu planning, and gear assignments are all part of student responsibilities.

Upper School students undertake some of the most iconic trips of the school's Outdoor Program curriculum, including the Coast Trip in the fall of tenth grade, the storied Junior Solo in the spring of eleventh grade, and Senior Quest, the trip that unifies the senior class before graduation. Each trip is challenging, unique, and something students talk about long after they have returned.

Upper School students are also exposed to trips of a different sort, including the ninth grade Service Learning week in Salt Lake City and the tenth grade trip to Ashland, Oregon, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Each trip develops important skills that students will carry with them to college and into the rest of their lives. Upper School outdoor trips are a time to showcase what students have accomplished, to continue to push their limits, to build additional skills, to lead, and to grow exponentially.

Upper School Outdoor Program trips

Fall Campout: This is How We Go Back to School

The Outdoor Program has really given me a sense of self and an appreciation for the outdoors. Seeing all these amazing places inspires me to want to go back out.

-Luma '17

Glimpse the magic of Community School's iconic Junior Solo trip through the eyes—and lens—of Oliver Guy '18.

Upper School Outdoor Program Objectives

  • Provide opportunities to lead classmates and younger students;
  • Take personal responsibility for the success of a trip by assuming integral planning and execution roles;
  • Continue to build important backcountry skills;
  • Prove self-reliance and independence within a nurturing and safe framework;
  • Serve others in need on the ninth grade Service Learning trip;
  • Build strong relationships with classmates, students in other classes, and faculty;
  • Experience a cultural week at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival;
  • Learn to love being alone on Junior Solo;
  • Explore some of the most beautiful wild places in the West;
  • Continue to teach leadership, cooperation, and teamwork;
  • Instill a respect and love for the outdoors;
  • Encourage students to stretch their comfort zones in a nurturing environment;
  • Build stamina, resilience, and grit;
  • Have fun!