Outdoor Program Encourages Learning and Leadership

Located at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, The Waterford School’s signature Outdoor Program offers unique opportunities for students to prepare for and develop a lifetime connection with the wilderness, where learning becomes an adventure.

Activities might include afternoon outings to the nearby mountains, or multi-day travels throughout northern and southern Utah. Each year, eager middle and upper school students can enjoy lengthier, round-the-world expeditions that often involve community service and cultural components. Last summer, after summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, upper schoolers served at a local orphanage in Tanzania.

All participants are challenged through diverse adventure and wilderness activities. Students also gain skills and self-reliance that sustain a lifetime of learning.

Hannah, a current senior, describes climbing a mountain this way: “When my mind is only paying attention to the voices of friends and the rock I’m gripping in my hands, there’s a wonderful sensation of focus that seems to come over me.”

Upper schoolers committed to the Outdoor Program and its mission can pursue leadership opportunities including trip planning and running the indoor climbing wall for the broader student body. They also serve as positive role models by leading middle school trips.

“The program is very popular because of the beautiful places we visit, the skills that are developed, and the healthy and nurturing learning environment that’s shared,” says program director Chris Watkins. “Students want and expect to be challenged by nature with the confidence that their peers will support each courageous act. This format leads to frequent transformative moments that seemingly take place before your eyes.”

Does your school do something similar?

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