House Retreats Are All Fun and Games With a Side Dish of Seriousness

At the beginning of each trimester here at Eagle Rock School, student residents and staff of our half-dozen on-campus houses participate in informal house retreats that last the better part of two solid days. And fun is right there on top of the agenda.

In anticipation of another trimester of hard work and community building, these house retreats place an emphasis on fun, community building, and great food.

It’s also a time for students and staff members to work on relationships, conduct serious conversations about the trimester ahead, build community and continue to develop their house culture. But it’s also the final hurrah before attending classes, and receiving and working on homework assignments.

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There are house meetings to be attended, leaders and intramural captains to be elected and a no-nonsense discussion of the mission statement for each house. All necessary, considering these houses are, essentially, a smaller community within Eagle Rock that encourage and foster camaraderie and team membership.

In other words, what comes around goes around. And when we build a positive community within the houses, those aspects then spread to the Eagle Rock community at large. And not to neglect the fun part of these two-day events, students and staff do cook and share meals together, and reconnect through games, activities and one-on-one discussions.

Specifically, here’s what each of our houses have been up to this Monday and Tuesday… 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…

On the Slopes, the Eagle Rock Teacher Becomes the Student

Falling is one of the ways of moving. ­– Merce Cunningham

Spiritual development is an important component of Eagle Rock’s 8+5=10 philosophy.

Which is why we begin each trimester with Week 0 — a time when returning students and staff take time to reflect on the previous trimester and set the tone for the trimester to come. In the midst of Week 0, individual student living houses set goals, share intentions and build relationships at house retreats.

While we did spend a significant amount of time on goals and reflection, students and staff from Aspen and Juniper Houses also had the opportunity to hit the slopes at Beaver Creek Resort near Avon, Colo. Boarding the buses well before dawn on a cold mid-January morning, we bundled beneath hats and lots of layers and traveled three hours southwest of campus for a day on the mountain.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve never seen the appeal of attaching a couple of sticks to your feet and sliding down a really big hill. On the other hand, I’m also not one to shy away from new experiences. While I still had anxieties about breaking an ankle, making a fool of myself and freezing to death because of not wearing enough layers, I was feeling pretty great about learning something new, especially alongside our students.

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Eagle Rock students getting ready for a day on the snow at Beaver Creek with SOS Outreach.

When we finally arrived, staff from SOS Outreach — a nonprofit that that uses adventure sports to foster self-confidence, leadership skills and positive decision-making in the clients it serves — met with us and helped our students get Continue reading…