One of the most unique attributes of an Explorer West Middle School education is the value of our Outdoor Education Program. It provides our students with some of the most important experiences of their young lives outside of the classroom and provides opportunities to connect in spectacular ways with their peers, their teachers, and their outdoor community.
Students participate in a progressively challenging curriculum that starts in 6th grade with an introduction to the outdoors while camping at Fort Worden State Park, extends to winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing, and culminates in 8th grade with a challenging 20+ mile backpack trip along the Olympic Coast.
Explorer West parent, Nakean Wickliff, created this video of one of the 6th Grade's snowshoeing trips in January 2023.
The program's focus builds on skills from previous years (ie. camp cooking, trail maintenance, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, etc.) and furthering those skills in order to provide students for greater opportunities at self-sufficiency, community building, leadership, and a greater appreciation of our wild places.
In three years at Explorer West, students will develop the following skills:
- Minimum Impact and Leave-No-Trace camping practices
- Map reading and navigation skills
- Basic first aid
- Leadership and cooperation
- Reflection and self-examination
- 33 days spent outdoors in three years at Explorer West
One of the main goals of our program is to prepare our students for a lifetime of safe, fun, sustainable outdoor adventures in the beautiful, variable, and wild Pacific Northwest.
Our Head of School Barbara Frailey went to Ross Lake on her inaugural Explorer West outdoor ed trip.
Here's a short video about her experience!