Adventure awaits |

Adventure awaits

Cindy Ramunno
Special to the Daily Andy Meyer, Dustin Stoenner and Cooper Hayes are students from Idaho who participated Chilean Adventures.

High school students enrolled in foreign-language classes know how hard it is to learn a new language. Former Eagle Valley High School teacher Todd Ericson also knows it can be difficult to learn in a typical classroom environment. Ericson now runs Chilean Adventures full-time in Chile.

The company runs semesters and full-years abroad for high school students. Along with intensive Spanish instruction, students can go on trips to the Atacama Desert and the rainforests of Patagonia.”We also offer climbing trips, kayaking and rafting,” Ericson said.Ericson taught at Eagle Valley from 1999 to 2002, and helped coach wrestling. Ericson also worked at Timberline Tours. Before arriving in the valley, he worked for two years at a Chilean private school, where he was an English teacher and athletic coordinator. Ericson grew up in Sussex County, N.J. on a horse farm with a view of the Appalachian Mountains, which, he said, served as a playground for his first adventures. He was a wrestler, rock climber and soccer player, but where he really learned to work hard was the farm, he said.

“I had to get up and take care of the animals,” he said. “I did a lot of chores before school each morning.” He fell in love with the Rocky Mountain on a ski trip as a teenager, he said. “I was content in New Jersey but I had always wanted to move out west,” he said. “My first chance was as a teen when we went spring skiing in Steamboat Springs.”Along with being a language arts and Spanish teacher, Ericson has over 10 years of experience leading trips, guiding and teaching in Chile. He had been a Wilderness First Responder since 1993 and is an expert Outdoor Leadership guide and instructor.

Because he’s fluent in English and Spanish and familiar with life in the U.S. and Chile residency, students report an instant feeling of comfort with Ericson.Ericson’s partner, Eduardo Doerr, grew up in the Andes Mountains on his family’s farm, and has spent most of his life in the Chilean outdoors. Doerr is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and also has extensive experience leading outdoor trips.Chilean Adventures is affiliated with Orchard College High School, and other high schools that are located in Curico, the heart of Chile’s fruit and wine country. These high schools are also recognized as some of the best in Chile. American students who enroll have the opportunity to experience the life of a Chilean teenager, learning Spanish along the way. Youth group programs also include service projects and internships. Activities included with group programs are kayaking, rafting, surfing, trekking, skiing, horse packing and climbing volcanoes.

Adult groups can also sign up to learn Spanish through activities such as wine tours and wildlife education. All of the activities offered to younger groups are offered to adult groups as well. Vail, Colorado

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