For over 30 years, Besant Hill School of Happy Valley has inspired, challenged, and taught students through its Outdoor Education Program (OEP). This program is an integral part of the philosophy, mission, and culture of the school.
The mission of the Besant Hill OEP is to provide students with the opportunity to develop the intellectual, social, and personal skills, through challenge and adventure in a safe and supportive environment. It is from these experiences that students will become positive, contributing members of their communities through a connection between themselves and the world at large. Special curriculums have been designed in order to fulfill this mission, including an all-school Fall Trips Program and a variety of outdoor excursions such as rock climbing, hiking, and skiing/snowboarding.
Fall Trips Program
The most inclusive curriculum for the student body, faculty, and staff is the Fall Trips Program, which is designed to cultivate community. Currently, the program takes place over the course of four days and students are invited to choose from a number of activities that will challenge them both physically and mentally. These activities include hiking, rock climbing, art, music, yoga, photography, kayaking, and ropes course work with UCSB’s Adventure Program. Providing an opportunity for programmatic choice has proved instrumental in both stirring our students’ passions and inspiring their interest in an activity that is out of their comfort zone. The schedule for Fall Trips also encompasses time for connection within each grade level, through our evening human development program.
Other trips that are organized through the OEP are scheduled on weekends throughout the year. The frequency and intensity of these trips are geared toward each year’s student body, with specific itineraries crafted to help achieve the goals of the participating individuals. These trips may include rock climbing, hiking, and skiing or snowboarding. These trips are designed to fully engage students in the outdoors while simultaneously providing training in technical backcountry skills.