Fostering Academic Growth through Adventure

by Andrea Wackerle

We hear it from parents before every summer, “my son won’t be able to come to camp this summer, because he needs to focus on catching up in [insert child’s least favorite subject].” It’s usually around those middle school years when students with ADHD and other learning disabilities begin to struggle in a specific subject area or have a hard time meeting the higher demands and responsibilities that come with getting older. The last thing you want to do is “punish” your child for something that is very difficult for them to control, and the words school and summer in the same sentence will probably seem like punishment.

But it doesn’t have to be. We understand how important it is for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities to understand their learning style, develop strategies for areas that they struggle, and to realize and capitalize on their strengths. Our NC Academic Discovery (26 days) and WY Academic Adventure (18 days) do just that.

Students spend a few hours each week focusing on English or Math, and the rest of their time is spent how summer should be spent—on adventures.

The classroom experience is designed to help students develop skills that allow for greater success in the classroom. By spending only a portion of their time in a classroom setting, students avoid the “summer flush” and remain in the routine of school learning, while still enjoying camp. Students also focus on study skills and organization strategies and will participate in learning style assessments designed to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.

Even on classroom days, students will get outside, participating in day hikes, team building initiatives, archery, primitive skills, and other activities to promote communication and teamwork. These activities help students to remain engaged during the academic portion of the school day.

After spending time on base and in the classroom, students will participate in one extended adventure per week (on average).

NC Academic Discovery

Expedition 1:

Expedition 1 is a four day/three-night backpacking trip in Pisgah National Forest. The first week at camp is all about getting to know your team, and there’s no better way put that newfound teamwork to work than on a backpacking trip!

Expedition 2:

Expedition 2 will take campers on a four-day adventure rock climbing in Pisgah National Forest, caving in Worley’s Cave in Tennessee, and exploring the Cradle of Forestry in America.

Expedition 3:

Expedition 3 is a three-day adventure through Cherokee National Forest and Gee Creek State Park in Tennessee. Campers will set up camp before spending an evening of swimming and gearing up for the next day’s adventure at Star Mountain. Campers will spend day 2 rock climbing and repelling at Star Mountain. Day 3 is all about the water. Campers will spend the day jet skiing, swimming, and enjoying the beautiful mountain Parksville Lake.

In addition to these adventures, students will also go on two local field trips to learn more about the culture and history of Western North Carolina. One day will be spent in nearby Asheville visiting the Colburn Science Musem, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, and the Urban Trail. The other day will be spent in historic Cherokee, visiting the Oconalauftee Visitor Center and Mountain Heritage Farm & Museum, Mingus Mill, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

WY Academic Adventure

Expedition 1:

After spending their first three days on base at Eagle View Ranch, the teams head into Wyoming’s most visited attraction, Yellowstone National Park. For the next three days, they’ll explore the park’s incredible scenery, wildlife, and geysers, including Old Faithful!

Expedition 2:

Expedition 2 brings more challenging activities and more confidence! After a day hike to Popo Agie Falls, students will set up camp and rappel for the rest of the afternoon. The next is filled with more rappelling, as well as climbing and bouldering in Sinks Canyon.

Expedition 3:

Campers will return to base briefly before embarking on Expedition 3. This expedition includes fishing and canoeing on Brooks Lake and a morning of rafting on the Snake River.

Want to talk with us directly about whether or not Academic Discovery/Academic Adventure is a good fit for your child this summer? Contact us at 828-456-3435 or email our Admissions Director.

Ready to secure your spot! Apply today for sessions in NC or WY!