Meet The Team: Jack Hilbrich, Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist

Jack Hilbrich is a huge part of our outdoor education department, responsible for stewarding our wilderness curriculum, as well as instructing and supervising on our new student wilderness course each trimester. A semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) launched his career as a course director, taking Jack to the deserts of the American Southwest, the Northwoods of Canada and other wildernesses areas. We caught up with Jack — who previously served as our 2014-15 Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education — in between paddling, biking and ice hockey to ask him about another favorite interest: Eagle Rock School.

eagle-rock-school-jack-hilbrich

Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock? 

Jack Hilbrich: Prior to coming to Eagle Rock I worked as a Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Interim Science Instructional Specialist — Sara Benge

Many staff and students around our campus call her Science Sara. She is the science instructional specialist and a house parent for Aspen House. Sara Benge has invested years in teaching and working with youth, including a stint in the Peace Corps in rural Morocco, teaching ESL at Horizon Science Academy in Columbus, Ohio.

She then taught science at a nature center in New Hampshire. In addition, Sara has led international service and adventure trips for high school students with The Road Less Traveled.

sara-benge-eagle-rock-school

Below, we quiz this science wiz on her life before Eagle Rock, her objectives here and some other fun trivial factoids: Continue reading…

Latest House Retreats Rekindle the Fire for a New Trimester

Pinon Amazing Race in BoulderIn our ongoing efforts to “engage youth in their own education,” Eagle Rock School goes to great lengths to see that most of that educational engagement is interesting, positive and — in the case of our pre-trimester house retreats — rejuvenating.

Like waking up after an afternoon nap, sometimes it’s difficult to jump to your feet and get back into action. Same goes for returning to campus after a well-deserved trimester break.

House retreats enable our students to reestablish the camaraderie they had before break and reconnect with their fellow house dwellers. It’s two and a half days of “what I did on break,” punctuated by meals, competitions, sightseeing and time to refocus on the trimester immediately facing these students.

Mixed in with all that frivolity and fellowship, there are house meetings where house leaders and intramural captains are elected. And there is serious discussion about topics of importance to each living community, as well as a sober revisiting of the house mission statement.

Recently, four of our six campus houses handed us notes and photos of their house retreat happenings and we’ve related those activities below: Continue reading…

A Day On The Slopes Reinforces Life Lessons

IMG_3838At the beginning of each trimester Eagle Rock students and several staff members participate in house retreats — a pair of days that enables members of each house to reconnect and bond with each other.

This trimester, Juniper, Ponderosa and Aspen houses took to the mountains and went snowboarding at Vail Resort. A number of staff and students had been on the trip in previous years, but for many, this was their first experience on a snowboard. There was plenty of anticipation and excitement as students suited up for their day on the slopes.

Vail Resorts sponsored eagle Rock’s Ride School and SOS Outreach, a nonprofit that uses adventure sports to engage youth, took care of getting the students the professional instruction they required to snowboard at Vail. Students began their day by thinking about discipline — which is among SOS Outreach’s six core values — and what it means to them. With these thoughts in mind, students strapped in and began their day.

The students and staff began by learning how to balance on their boards, with many mastering how to turn and stop. Falling was fairly typical as it is with all new snowboarders, but positive attitudes prevailed and laughter was the general response after nearly each wipeout.

Eventually many were Continue reading…

House Retreats Convene to Re-energize Students and Staff Alike

On-campus housing at Eagle Rock means much more than a place to hang your hat or fall asleep. It’s a culture within a culture, with students building an intimate identity around one of our half dozen houses and then expanding that identity and familiarity to include the entire school. By concentrating on building a positive community and culture within the houses, these positive efforts encompass the larger Eagle Rock community and campus life.

Because one thing our houses do is promote camaraderie, team spirit, good-natured competition and a sense of belonging.

That being said, sometimes it’s difficult to return from a break and immediately recapture that feeling of oneness that was there when you last walked out the front door. Thus, the advent of the Eagle Rock House Retreat, which let us reconnect with our fellow housemates and spend some time focused on the culture of each individual house.

Below is a recap of the activities that highlighted our latest House Retreats in mid-September:

Aspen House: In addition to preparing several meals and enjoying delicious food, members of Aspen House went go-carting, bowling and teamed up for laser tag at Boodocks. They wound down their retreat with a move in comfy recliners at the Flatirons AMC theater in nearby Broomfield, Colo.

ER_HouseRetreat_Gokart

Juniper House: Things got off to a festive start for Juniper House residents with a barbecue at Lake Estes complete with a campfire with s’mores. Students created a house mandala with a statement written by each student about their roots, following by personal learning plans. What followed was some Ultimate Frisbee training and a photo scavenger hunt at Continue reading…