Big mountains, good attitude, better grades
MINTURN ” Minturn Middle School students last month completed an adventure that might have been designed in the privileged halls of the high school England’s Prince Charles attended in Gordonstoun in Scotland.
The prince’s alma mater opened in the 1940s with the intent to combine academic achievement with outdoor adventure. The school’s motto is “Plus est en Vous,” or, “There is more in you.”
Minturn Middle School teacher Innes Isom knew Gordonstoun’s philosophy through his prior job as program director at Meet The Wilderness ” a nonprofit organization that brings kids into the backcountry ” and decided to apply it in Minturn.
“I wanted to give the kids a chance to learn about themselves and the outdoors” Isom said.
Last January, working with Meet the Wilderness, he formed the Minturn Middle School Adventure Club. Twenty kids signed up for weekly outdoor activities, a winter trip to a mountain hut, and a 6-day wilderness backpacking trip in the summer.
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“The main benefits for the kids were envisioned to give the kids more buy-in to our school,” Isom said. “If Minturn Middle School is a place that they enjoy being and are proud to be part of then they will invest more in their efforts to be successful.”
Meet the Wilderness used a questionnaire in an attempt to assess whether the outdoor activities were improving students’ self-esteem, trust and personal responsibility. The group said the kids made strides in all three areas.
“These were some of the biggest changes ever recorded in Meet the Wilderness’s history,” said Tom McCalden of Meet The Wilderness. “We are certain that these kids will have better grades because they developed a better attitude to school and everyone around them.”
Funding is need to run the program next year at Minturn Middle School and for older students at Red Canyon High School, said McCalden.