Experiential Education Trips

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Experiential, hands-on education is a natural extension for Sugar Bowl Academy, a school that attracts a high percentage of active, engaged student-athletes. Experiential Education Trips are designed to ignite students' passions in a manner that would otherwise be impossible within the Sugar Bowl Academy curricula. Each spring, students, led by teams of two or three staff members, travel in small, mixed-age groups on five to six day educational adventures throughout the Western United States where they are let loose to "learn by doing."

A continuing experiment in expanding the boundaries and possibilities of the Academy, the Trips' Program has two interrelated and primary purposes: to find new ways to foster joy in learning and engagement and to provide experiences and opportunities that may not routinely exist in the SBA curricula. All Trips engage the intellect as well as the physical and empathic dimensions of the human experience.

During SBA's inaugural Trips' Program, students and staff traveled to:

  • The Lost Coast where they backpacked along 24+ miles of Northern California coastline, through one of the largest pieces of wilderness seashore in the contiguous 48 states. 

  • Monterey Bay where, in chilly water and among huge kelp forests, they obtained their PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water certifications. 

  • The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in Ashland, Oregon, where they saw King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew and engaged in thoughtful discussions about the plays augmented via a lecture delivered by OSF's creative directors and the actor who played Lear, Michael Winters.

  • The Owens River Valley where they gained hands-on familiarity with the Owens' wealth of geological diversity while alternating between low-level and roped rock climbing sessions.

  • Salt Lake City where they learned about a new environment, personal limits and gained a greater understanding of the Mormon religion and culture.
I went backpacking for the first time. We learned how to make fires and survive in the wilderness. We saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, starfish, crabs, deer, mice, snakes and insects!
— SBA Student


I chose this trip because I knew that I had difficulty with rock climbing, especially a fear of hanging by the rope. I wanted to conquer that fear.
— SBA Student