Outdoor Classes

We believe that exposing students to the outdoors and teaching respect for the natural world not only benefits the planet but makes the student a better person. The outdoor elective curriculum provides opportunities for students that are unique and interdisciplinary in their approach. All courses are trimester in length.

Outdoor Leadership
Outdoor Leadership is an elective offered by Blue Ridge School’s Outdoor Education Program. The class goal is to introduce students to information, resources and, most importantly, experience needed for leadership in the outdoor education field. Class participants will identify soft skills needed in facilitating group exercises and will participate in various leadership models – focusing primarily on developing elements of group dynamics (i.e. trust, communication and teamwork). A major project in this class is developing a biographical sketch of a leader in the education, conservation or recreation field. Students who desire the opportunity to learn about leadership styles and gain practical experience in facilitating group activities should take this class.

Outdoor Leadership II
Outdoor Leadership II is an elective offered by Blue Ridge School’s Outdoor Education Program. This class is a continuation of Outdoor Leadership I and focuses primarily on program planning. The goal is to provide students with practical experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of recreational programs. Class topics emphasize needs assessment, logistics, risk management and debriefing. Major projects in this class include developing actual recreational programs for student-body participation and creating a proposal for a four-day back-country expedition. Students who desire hands-on experience in recreational programming are encouraged to take this class. It is recommended that students complete Outdoor Leadership I prior to registering for this class.

Outdoor Living Skills
Outdoor Living Skills is an elective offered by Blue Ridge School’s Outdoor Education Program. The course goal is to introduce students to the principles of recreation and leisure as well as the fundamentals of back-country travel. Class participants will specifically develop hard skills essential to outdoor recreation pursuits; including mountain travel, camping, cooking, and orienteering. Major projects will include a overnight camping trip on campus and a paper discussing recreation philosophy. Students who appreciate the challenge of wilderness pursuits and who desire to learn how to be better prepared for outdoor activities are encouraged to take this class.

This class’ goal is to introduce students to fundamental survival skills and issues related to ecosystem management. Major projects for this class include a debris shelter overnight and research paper on a conservation issue effecting wilderness areas. Students who have an interest in primitive living and ecology are encouraged to take this class.

Outdoor Service Learning
This fall course will examine the act of service and its impact on our world. Students will be engaged in a service project on the campus while exploring a variety of issues in the service field. Both local and global non-profit organizations will be studied. With the reading and discussion of our book we will examine our personal impact on the environment.

Outdoor Appreciation
This course offered in the spring trimester examines our personal and societal relationship to nature. The beginning of the conservation movement, The National Park System and weekly experiences on the BRS property will be our avenues of learning. A project that involves sustainability takes up the majority of our time.

Appalachian Experiences
This winter course will examine a variety of topics and issues in and around the Appalachian Mountain Chain. Cherokee culture, Blue Ridge School history, the Appalachian Trail, environmental issues, mountain culture and others will be researched and discussed. We will also spend some time on BRS school history which includes a study of archives. A major hands-on activity that takes place is the painting of a Cherokee gourd mask that appears in the art shop in the spring.

Wilderness & Remote First Aid
The Outdoor Education Program is excited to offer this unique elective in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Students will be provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities to respond and provide care in an emergency situation (specifically in a “wilderness” environment). Numerous hands-on scenarios with classmates will help to ingrain this important information. Upon completion of the course, students will earn certifications in Adult CPR, Adult AED, and Wilderness & Remote First Aid.

"DRAMA, THE VIRGINIA OUTDOORS, TRACK, CROSS COUNTRY, THE CHURCH, THE LIBRARY, IT HAS ALL BEEN AWESOME TO BE INVOLVED IN AND I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN AT A BETTER HIGH SCHOOL."
– CHARLEY GARNER ’10