Witnessing all of this activity reminded me of a song lyric written by two members of our Class of 2011, in which they posed the question, "Are we campers or are we students?" Prospective parents often ask a similar question, though usually it is framed as, "Why do we have a mandatory, week-long fall outdoor education program as part of our curriculum?"
The answer to this question starts with our past history. Our founders hoped that Greenwood, like a summer camp, would be a caring community in which students were encouraged and supported to take on new challenges. For some students, these challenges are physical, such as navigating Kilcoo’s high ropes course, going on a multi-day canoe trip or trying out for a fall sport. Other students navigate social challenges by living together for a brief period in a tent or cabin, preparing a meal around a cooking fire or auditioning for a part in this year’s Junior Play. Tryouts for the play and some U14 teams began over the past few days at Kilcoo.
It is our belief that stretching oneself in the fall outdoor education program creates a foundation for taking on new challenges during the remainder of the school year. For example, the habit of learning through trial and error how to stern a canoe is a great habit of mind to have when you first learn how to solve a quadratic equation. Though our school year begins beyond the school walls, the work we do during the first weeks of school is a vital part of a Greenwood education.