Wednesday, November 16, 2011

School kicks off Outdoor Leadership Academy

10 students selected for first class

Express Staff Writer

The Community School announced last week that it has inaugurated its new Outdoor Leadership Academy with the selection of 10 students as the program's first class.

The Sun Valley private school has long emphasized outdoor education as part of its curriculum, but is now taking the endeavor to a higher level by offering wilderness training and survival and providing students the opportunity to learn specialized outdoor skills.

The curriculum includes training in wilderness first aid, CPR, wilderness navigation, expedition planning and leadership, and leaving the wilderness relatively undisturbed. Each student will be able to specialize in some aspect of the outdoor experience. Options available include mountain and rock climbing, winter backcountry travel and river training.

The academy's first 10 students are freshmen Ander Fortuin, Will Harder, Jack Swanson and George Elliot, sophomores Taylor Adler and Nick Wright and juniors Gunnar Ohlson, Zach Lindahl, Maranda Stopol and Ellie Swanson.

"The Outdoor Leadership Academy was created for students whose primary goal is to develop their overall leadership abilities and who understand the leadership skills they develop on outdoor trips can be transferred to any setting," Outdoor Program Director Rob Landis stated in a news release.

In addition to relying on experienced staff members, the academy will draw on mentors and advisors that include some of the "finest alpinists, rock climbers, river experts and backcountry skiers in the country," Landis stated.

The Outdoor Leadership Academy is one of several new endeavors started by the Community School this year with the goal of increasing enrollment and bringing new talent and recognition to the Sun Valley area. Other new endeavors are the Ski Academy in partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and the Residential Program, which provides boarding for out-of-area students at a dormitory in Warm Springs.

"Our new boarding facility will allow high school students from around the country who have an interest in outdoor leadership to come to Sun Valley and experience the wealth of opportunity found in the mountains, rivers and wilderness surrounding our school," Landis stated.

Terry Smith:

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