Reflections from Stratton Mountain

Written By: 
Chris Houston, Winter Sports Coordinator

"Not much of a winter, eh?"

This is something I have heard a lot recently. Not true if you were one of the thirty Kindle Farmers who went to Stratton Mountain Resort this season. For us, winter was awesome! Every Wednesday, students and staff from all three programs would load up the farm truck with skis and snowboards and make our way to the mountain, from the bone chilling days in January, to the sunny t-shirt days of March. Our students had a winter adventure they won't soon forget.

This year's Stratton crew had a wide variety of experience, from first time skiers to terrain park pros. For me, the most rewarding part of the program is teaching beginners. It takes a big leap of faith to try something new. It's a daunting experience the first time you strap on a snowboard or step into a ski. It brings with it a lot of fear and anxiety. Helping kids face this challenge and experience success is a big reason I work at Kindle Farm. To be with them when they finally link some turns or ride the Gondola to the summit for the first time is as good as it gets.

During staff meetings we often discuss the merits of such programming. When trying to balance academics with experiential learning I try to pass on these stories.There is an enormous sense of accomplishment and pride that a student feels when he overcomes a challenge. There is a bond that forms between teacher and student during these shared experiences. In a relationship-based program such as ours, this deepens our connection with each other. This helps both teacher and student when faced with challenges in the classroom.

All of this, while having a blast on the mountain!
-- Getting fresh air and exercise.
--Feeling good about yourself and feeling good about your school.

This winter our students had an experience they will carry with them long after school is over, and that is awesome.