Adventure Education is a learning framework that fits every piece of the Renaissance Secondary puzzle

Adventure Education is an important and unique component of the Renaissance Secondary model. Based on principles that guide Outward Bound, Adventure Education pushes students physically, socially, and emotionally through challenging outdoor voyages, team building exercises, and other related experiences. Students master skills – both personal and interpersonal- that transfer to the classroom, to the larger community and to life.

Culture of Crew
Adventure Education not only instills self confidence in students, it also creates bonds between students that permeate the school’s culture and sense of community. Students develop a strong and lasting bond with their peers and teachers. Voyages and team building activities contribute to a culture of teamwork, perseverance, and cooperation. For Renaissance Secondary, this is a crucial component of nurturing the Culture of Crew, where every parent, teacher, and child can attest “We are crew, not passengers”.

Our Vision, Mission, and Character Values
While participating in Adventure Education activities, students will often be working within a group. While facing challenges and adversity, they will strive as a team to overcome limitations. Within these groups, the need to effectively and intentionally work together will become clear to students. Adventure Education by design provides an environment that values deliberate, compassionate interaction and acts of service. Adventure Education staff will model, encourage, and support an environment built upon empathy, beneficence, and stewardship, with the intent of fostering a caring connection to individuals and the greater world in which we live. Because a student’s development is not wholly an academic endeavor, Adventure Education strives to cultivate characteristics that lead to a more effective, productive, and content individual.

Personalized Learning
Adventurous activities and challenges serve a greater purpose than novel entertainment – they push a student to step out of the realm of his or her everyday experience into a mental and emotional field where learning can make the greatest impression. In Adventure Education, the student is challenged emotionally, physically, and mentally in a manner that purposely balances calculated risks with the mental, emotional, and physical safety of the student. It is the role of the staff to provide these challenges for the student while ensuring the student’s safety, and to support the student as he or she confronts very real challenges that extend beyond the student’s perceived limitations.

Diversity in experience, background and knowledge provides for a more varied and interesting world. Diversity in perception and approach provide for a more whole and ultimately effective experience when one is faced with challenges. Adventure Education staff will help students to embrace and value diversity for both its practical benefits as well as out of a spirit of compassion towards others. Staff will intentionally endeavor to develop each student’s capacity for understanding, empathy, tolerance, and honest communication through modeling, interaction with students, and instruction.

Authentic, Integrated Learning
The direct experiences and outcomes of personal action are very apparent and real to students within Adventure Education. Building upon this awareness of personal impact, Adventure Education strives to develop each student’s appreciation of his or her individual influence upon society and the environment, and helps to foster a sense of intentionality toward deliberate constructive action and a desire to contribute in a positive manner. This intentionality should live in the staff and students of Adventure Education as a personal responsibility towards society as an individual and collective impression of stewardship towards the environment.

Many of an individual’s greatest lessons are born out of initial failure, and subsequent success. In experiencing directly such successes and failures, students understand the foundation upon which their knowledge is built because they have lived the consequences of their efforts. Because of this, Adventure Education embraces strife and failure, and rejoices in accomplishment. In Adventure Education, staff guides students as they learn from their mistakes and organically derive skills that lead toward not only achievement, but also the knowledge needed to truly realize goals.

Examples of Adventure Education activities

  • Through multi-day trips (voyages) –often camping and backpacking– which may or may not include some type of fieldwork (data collection opportunity) related to a Learning Expedition
  • Through daily culture building rituals: drumming, community meetings, advisory group “morning meeting” circles
  • Through team building opportunities
  • Through physical challenges: ropes courses, high ropes elements, rock climbing, and other physical challenges encountered during voyages

Voyages are Adventure Education trips that take place off campus for several days/nights. Voyages are most often associated with spending time outdoors, in nature, experiencing reasonable challenge, and are designed to “know and grow” individuals and teams.

No prior experience with (or love for) the outdoors is necessary for students to benefit from voyages. Voyages are designed to take students out of their comfort zones and into their “growth zone.” Children do not need to like being in the outdoors to benefit from the program. The purpose of the adventure education program is to challenge students by placing them outside of their comfort zones and showing them that they can accomplish more than they thought they could. In fact, the students who benefit the most are often the students who are challenged the most.

Voyages are an integral part of the Renaissance program in which all students participate. As we build our program, voyages like those described below will occur one two two times per year.

Grade 7 voyages will typically be about 3-5 days in duration and usually take place locally (Colorado mountains, etc.)

Grade 8 voyages will typically be 4-7 days in duration and usually take place locally or regionally (Colorado or neighboring states within driving distance)

Grade 9-12 voyages will typically be longer (perhaps 5-8 days in duration) High school students may participate in voyages locally, regionally, nationally, or even internationally.


More information about Adventure Education at Renaissance Secondary can be found here:
Adventure Education Goals and Objectives
More About Adventure Education

Gear List

*Gear List is subject to change depending on the needs of specific voyages (location, season)

Colorado weather is unpredictable and sometimes severe. It is best to be prepared in terms of survival gear, while also being picky with extra items in order to minimize pack weight. Voyages always include a gear check prior to leaving. Some gear may be available to borrow. If any gear is needed, requests should be made before gear check.
You must provide:

– 2 pair heavy, non-cotton socks
– 3 pair medium, non-cotton socks
– comfortable hiking boots (waterproof preferred)
– camp shoes are optional (lightweight, closed-toe shoes)

– 1 non-cotton long underwear
– 1 heavy weight, non-cotton fleece/synthetic pants
– 1 quick dry, synthetic hiking pants
– Comfortable evening pants, synthetic is best
– Underwear
– Waterproof rain pants
– Waterproof snow pants – able to fit over warmth layers (for winter voyage only)
– Gaiters (optional)

– 2 non-cotton long underwear shirts
– 2 non-cotton, quick dry synthetic tee shirts
– 1 medium weight fleece/synthetic or wool tops
– Heavy weight fleece/synthetic coat
– Winter jacket with hood or waterproof and
– Waterproof/windproof jacket
– Comfortable shirt for evenings

– 1 pair heavy gloves (water resistant and insulated … fleece is not water resistant)
– 1 pair liner gloves (or thin pair for camp and warmer days)

– 2 heavy synthetic or wool hats/balaclavas (fleece-lined are often best)
– Scarf or neck gaiter (should cover student’s neck in order to keep heat inside jacket and potentially be pulled up over nose or mouth if it’s windy)
– 1 pair sunglasses – UV protected

Hard Gear:
– Large backpack
– Bag/duffle to hold clothing and equipment
– Plastic cup suitable for hot liquids
– Plastic bowl and spoon
– 2 wide-mouth, nalgene water bottles … No camel backs!
– Toothbrush/toothpaste, comb/brush, wash cloth (small towel – optional)
– Small hand sanitizer bottle
– 2 large, 2 small Ziploc baggies
– Bandanna/handkerchief
– Sunscreen (SPF 24 or greater)
– Lip balm (with SPF)
– Large plastic trash bags – odorless (2)
– Journal and pencil (from school)
– Whistle
– Head lamp or small flashlight (Mini-Mag light with head strap) — extra batteries are a good idea
– Sleeping Bag (very warm/winter bag)
– Sleeping pad (foam preferred or bring duct tape for repairs in air sleeping pad)

Optional Items: Camera, 2-4 plastic grocery bags (to go over socks inside boots – to keep them dry), disposable hand and feet warmers.