Welcome back, Realms students! We start every year with an 8- to 10-day backpacking trip. Some of our new parents have been asking why we consider this trip to be an integral part of our year. Our primary reason is to build our community. By the time we have spent 10 days hiking over mountains, cooking meals, and sharing experiences, our students know each other better than they might have after a year of only attending classes. They learn to trust their teachers as mentors and guides, and they learn about themselves and their ability to meet challenges. Students come back with new confidence and friendships that last a lifetime. Realms' unique learning environment depends on the growth mindset and strong relationships built on this trip.
Another important reason is the vital need to connect students with nature. In his book "How to Raise a Wild Child", Scott Sampson gives a compelling argument about why it should be a national priority to get our children outside. He says that in addition to myriad studies citing the positive impacts of nature on mental and physical health, unstructured outdoor play is central to development in young children. Nature also gives teens a chance to connect with peers and challenge themselves in a learning environment. Finally, Sampson says that we have about one generation to connect to nature if we want to be able to respond to the ecological challenges we are facing, and build a sustainable future. If we don't teach our kids to value nature, he argues, they will have no reason to invest in it. You can listen to Scott talking with Doug Fabrizio of KUER here:http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/how-raise-wild-child