All Kinds of News for April 06, 2016
Outdoor Experiential Education (OEE) at Gateway Academy (UT) extends far beyond recreation. It is a critical element of our therapeutic approach. Our weekly adventures and extended trips change with the seasons and we are fortunate to have the whole of Utah as our big backyard.
As the snow begins to melt, Gateway students will be putting away their skis and snowboards, but not the memories and relationships formed on the wintery slopes. One thing is certain -- our students became aware of what they’re capable of. They discovered new depths of resilience and confidence and took their potential to new heights.
But the springtime brings a new adventure, and with it new skills and experiences that will allow our students to set their own goals, achieve their own successes, and tap into undiscovered strengths. The Outdoor Experiential Educators will focus these next few months on Canyoneering — a blend of rapelling, hiking and rock climbing. These activities are low-risk in nature, but carry a high perceived risk, which is a great recipe for building confidence and self-esteem. They often require both physical and social risk taking; learning to ask for support from one’s peers – and accept it – is an important and valuable skill. At the same time, each student can see firsthand how his choices and behavior influence the goals of the group, and how his support might be just the thing that helps another student succeed.
The discoveries our students make about themselves in therapy – lessons of self-confidence and capability — are reinforced in adventures on the weekend and on week-long excursions. For some boys, outdoor experiences are key to unlocking the door to their resistance and self-doubt.
Gateway weekend trips are not about “athletics.” There is no emphasis on competition, winning or superior sports skill. Nature is an equal opportunity playground. Our canyoneering adventures are all about dynamic, ever-changing and challenging environments, complete with obstacles, decision-making and fun.