This month brings exciting, hands-on experiential learning for our students and staff!
Below is a quick introduction to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that our community will be engaging in during the coming weeks:
Wilderness Advanced First Aid & CPR Certification
Students and staff will work together in this week-long, professional-level certification program, guided by the Wilderness Medicine Institute. Lessons on risk management and prevention, site surveys, CPR, and emergency treatment will be paired with hands-on simulated emergency scenarios where students will put their knowledge into action.
South Africa International Aventura
Some of our more senior students will travel to South Africa for what is sure to be a life-changing adventure. After getting to know Cape Town and introductions to local communities, students will participate in wildlife safaris, team-building exercises with local nonprofits, visits to museums and historical sites, and even a workshop with a local artist on using graffiti to bring positive change to communities!
Peru International Aventura
Many of our NSA students will travel to Peru to experience the Sacred Valley as few visitors ever get to do. The journey begins with an introduction to the ancient city of Cuzco and exploring the Incan site of Machu Picchu and Pisac. Students will then raft the Apurimac River before hiking the challenging but stunningly beautiful Ausangate Trek!
Costa Rica Orientation Aventura
Our newest NSA students will spend a week on two separate trips, with some relax time on campus in-between, getting to know the beauty and fun that Costa Rica has to offer. The first leg will introduce students to the Pacific Coast, where they will spend time on the beaches and sea kayaking. White water rafting on the world-famous Sarapiqui and zip-lining through the rainforests of Arenal make up the second trip. What a way to start at NSA!
SCUBA Certification in Bocas del Toro
To round out the August Experiential Session, a group of students and staff will travel to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro in Panama to earn their SCUBA Certifications. Bocas is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and populations of marine mammals. This Aventura is sure to be remembered!
No other school on the planet engages its students in experiential learning like New Summit Academy!
This month, NSA will celebrate the graduation of four young men, ready to venture into the world and experience continued success.
After graduation, our students and staff will engage in a month of experiential learning, including the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) certification course, international Aventuras to Peru and South Africa, and a SCUBA certification in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Stay tuned for more updates on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!
NSA students are beginning the quarter by planning for their continued growth with their SCAFA (which stands for Self, Community, and Future) Teams.
On the first day of each quarter, NSA has a special schedule that allows students to each meet with their Academic Advisor, Experiential Education Mentor, and Case Manager – who make up their SCAFA Team – to review their quarterly goal plans and set concrete steps to achieve those goals.
When not attending SCAFA Meetings, students are working to unpack from their home visits or Recreational Aventuras, organizing their iPads for the upcoming quarter, participating in community service in Atenas, and expending some adolescent energy on the basketball court, on the soccer field, or in the gym.
SCAFA Day is one way we work to set up our students for success this quarter!
NSA has always believed that non-traditional education is the most effective way to reach a greater variety of learners and to better prepare them for our rapidly-evolving world. We have spent the past 15 years engaging students in experiential, collaborative, problem-based learning, and now we are sharing it with the world!
This May, Heather Tracy and Martin Naffziger, our Executive Director and Director of Learning and Outcomes, traveled to Chicago to present: Why (and How) Non-Traditional Education Must Be the New Traditional.
The presentation, given in front of a crowd of diverse educators, outlined the trends in adolescents and the world we are preparing them for, and how a different set of skills must be developed to best set them up for success.
While in Chicago, we also had the chance to host a current and alumni parent meet-up, sharing updates and memories. Families of graduates from as far back as 2013 met and mingled with families of students graduating this May, so it was a truly special occasion.
Thanks to all of our families for your continued support!
This past week, students returned from Integrated Aventuras in the rainforests and cloud forests of Costa Rica with stories to tell. Some of the highlights of the trips included:
• Working hard on mangrove reforestation projects along the shores of the Golfo Dulce
• Learning techniques for finding the highest quality coconuts
• Developing the most efficient teamwork techniques for moving 4.5 cubic meters of gravel over two busy days to create rainy season-resistant flooring for new trails
• Having the wind and current at their backs and high tides that coincided with arriving and leaving camp which made loading and unloading gear much easier
• Seeing a pod of at least 30 dolphin at sunrise while crossing the Golfo Dulce
• Catching mackerel, red snapper and tuna, and spotting sea turtles, different sting rays and even a whale shark!
• Creating the perfect shelter in a two-hour “team-building” exercise (though it miraculously didn’t rain, so the final design unfortunately wasn’t put to the ultimate test)
• Celebrating two student birthdays, marked by setting an NSA record completing an excruciating 3km hike in just 37 minutes
• On the last day of Aventura, making a bonfire by the river and roasting s’mores Costa Rican style
• Students being vulnerable with each other about the bittersweet feelings of moving on, processing the great connections they’ve made during their time at NSA and preparing for the transition as graduation approaches
This month, NSA’s newest club – the Birdwatching Club – took it upon themselves to organize a weekend trip into the cloud forests of Costa Rica.
The trip coincided with the nesting season of one of Central America’s most stunning and most elusive avian species: the Resplendent Quetzal.
Students and staff departed for the forested mountains on Friday, with the plan to rise early the next morning for the best quetzal spotting opportunity.
After a sunrise yoga session led by one of our Case Managers, Andrea, the group began scanning the lush foliage for their prize.
They identified dozens of different species and, in the end, their efforts paid off with a male quetzal displaying its iridescent plumage to the group for over 20 minutes. Nice work, birders!
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