Eagle Rock Students, Instructors and Staff Wrap Up Another Successful Year

It’s been a busy December here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and as we wind down for the holiday season, we thought it might be helpful to post a schedule for the rest of 2017 and the beginning of the calendar year ahead.

First off, where we’ve been this month:

  • We graduated three of our amazing students with pomp and circumstance last Friday, with the rest of the student population heading back to families spread across the nation last weekend.
  • Our staff held a holiday party this past Sunday, wrapping up the trimester with a final staff meeting on Monday morning.

Many staff members will be gathering together to make plans for our 74th trimester (ER-74) this week, as well as put additional thought and work in on the planning for our 25th Anniversary Celebration, which is scheduled for June 30, 2018, here in Estes Park, Colo. And, of course, our business office and operations team continues to run the day-to-day tasks that recognize deadlines and schedules (in addition to holidays and celebrations).

Meanwhile, staff from our Professional Development Center are wrapping up the current trimester with several commitments in Wisconsin in support of our clients. These include visits with Continue reading…

At Eagle Rock It’s Our Surroundings That Provide the Best Education

At Eagle Rock School, we’re kept pretty busy, what with a variety of classes, meetings and continuously working to make our community strong.

Nevertheless, we still manage to find plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. With our campus nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, we are minutes from excellent year round outdoor recreation — including skiing, biking, snowshoeing, climbing, fishing, hiking — and even painting en plein air.

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All of our students begin their Eagle Rock School career with a 24-day wilderness course that is largely focused on orientation, self-management and learning the skills necessary in order to live and learn cordially within a community of peers. And nearly all of this experience takes place in a pristine outdoor environment.

For many of our students, this is the first time they have been enveloped for a lengthy period in a natural setting, surrounded by rivers and forests and meadows and mountain peaks. Many of these students tell us the wilderness course is a Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School is looking for an Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructor

One of the current positions we’re recruiting for is titled Outdoor Education Adjunct Instructor. It’s a job we imagine would appeal to anyone who loves working in the outdoors, especially with diverse adolescents from backgrounds that haven’t afforded them the opportunity to experience the healing and generative nature of the outdoors or a unique and supportive community like ours.

Eagle Rock Outdoor Education Adjunct Instructor2

Not a lot of classroom time required here. In fact, most of the job requires extensive time with underserved youth in the open air, surrounding by mountains, meadows and meandering streams.

And while that admittedly sounds like an outdoor professional’s dream, there’s a ton of administrative prep work involved in this position. For instance, just preparing for the Eagle Rock School New Student Wilderness Orientation Course begins with planning and coordination among various Eagle Rock team members in the areas of logistics, instruction and course directing.

There’s also the task of assisting with the complex technical components of adventure-based classes — again including logistics support. In addition, there’s equipment and food inventory, activity risk management and training, climbing wall training, curriculum development, and assisting us with our ongoing accreditation documentation through the Association for Experiential Education (AEE).

Oh, and then there’s a solid amount of time spent with our veteran students and Continue reading…

Connecting Wilderness Field Experiences to Academic Success

As frequent readers of the Eagle Rock Blog may already know, the Eagle Rock School New Student Wilderness Orientation Course is a staple rite of passage in the Eagle Rock student experience. All new students, since the founding of the school in the early-1990s, are challenged to start out their Eagle Rock experience by leaving behind the comforts of modern society and heading out into the wilderness for 24 days with a small group of strangers/fellow incoming students.

They are required to sleep on the ground, cook their own food, face the challenges that Mother Nature presents, and deal with all of the issues that arise in small group living. On top of that, these students are challenged to take a deep look at themselves, working on self-awareness, self-control, effective communication and tools that will help them to be successful in the Eagle Rock community.

Our wilderness courses follow a typical Outward Bound type model (backpacking, rock-climbing, solo, service, etc.) where the group — focusing on personal growth and development — gradually builds towards more independence from the instructor team. But we differ dramatically from most outdoor programs in that this is truly an orientation program with the primary focus of preparing students for both the academic and student living experience on campus.

Eagle Rock School Wilderness Orientation

Literally everything we do during the first five weeks of the new student experience should be focused on helping these novice Eagle Rock School students to achieve success in their time here.

When new students arrive, their first week is packed full of the Eagle Rock experience. They are expected to fully engage and participate from Day One. The intention of having a full week on campus is for the students to fully understand what they are getting into. That time also provides our wilderness instructors the opportunity to observe these “newbies” and have something to draw from later when Continue reading…

Recapping Our Latest Wilderness Presentations of Learning

Eagle Rock’s 66th trimester (ER 66) brought us 10 fresh-off-the-bus students and a return to the wilderness for our New Student Wilderness Orientation Course. The program remains among the staples of the Eagle Rock School student experience and, in fact, we have been conducting these courses since the school’s founding in the early-1990s.

Three times a year, we gear up and head out to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, or the Lost Creek Wilderness in Colorado for a 24-day backpacking course. The trips also include rock climbing, rappelling and a three-day solo experience.

This orientation program places students in unique situations, during which they have the opportunity to gain valuable learning experiences. This learning is made possible by placing students in a new, unfamiliar setting (wilderness) where they must rely on themselves and each other to succeed, and where the usual distractions of adolescent life — smartphones, TV, fast food, drugs and alcohol, cars, malls, cosmetics and hair products — are absent.

Eagle Rock School Wilderness Orientation

Underlying this novel setting and providing the basis for change is a foundation of trust and the student’s perception of the wilderness as a setting riddled with danger and risk. Overcoming the unique problems that a wilderness trip typically presents requires a cooperative effort among all group members.

Putting together the “wilderness puzzle” of problems leads to feelings of accomplishment, enhanced self awareness and self control, as well as a feeling of personal responsibility for self, others and the natural environment. In the end, the skills that students develop on the course will help them successfully contribute to the Eagle Rock community and ultimately to society as a whole.

Courses are 24 days in length due to the fact that it usually takes an individual about three to four weeks to develop a habit or change a behavior. We think 21 days is the minimum amount of time we can spend in the field to effect positive changes. Most students don’t become aware of, or begin working on, changing behaviors until five to eight days into the course, so the task for us is to have students continue the work they started on the wilderness trip back on campus.

While on the wilderness course, students are working on skills related to Eagle Rock’s mission and philosophy (8+5=10) in the following categories:  Continue reading…