Middle School Retreat Program

Every October, our students join their classmates on grade-level retreats. Our goals for this program fall into three categories: to develop relationships among the members of our community, to foster an understanding of and appreciation for the outdoors, and to cultivate self-confidence and independence in our students. In the course of the three-year program, students make new friends, get to know teachers outside the classroom, learn new skills, and become familiar with the natural beauty of several California venues. Naturalists who work with the retreat groups teach students respect and responsibility for the environment and engage them in activities that are often challenging. With the shared experience of learning new skills and meeting personal challenges, the retreat program promotes class unity and the development of some close friendships.

Seventh Grade
The seventh-grade class spends four days and three nights together at El Capitan Canyon, located approximately 20 miles north of Santa Barbara. The camp offers access to a challenging ropes course, ocean kayaking, sailing in the Santa Barbara harbor, and boogie boarding. Students learn outdoor skills and develop both self-reliance and a sense of community.

Eighth Grade
Eighth graders spend four days and three nights together on Catalina Island. Students sleep in large canvas structures and participate in activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking. Students who prefer a more challenging camping experience and extensive outdoor program may opt to spend the four days and three nights in Joshua Tree State Park. Students continue to build outdoor skills, self-reliance, and class unity.

Ninth Grade
The ninth graders’ four-day retreat is a canoe trip down the Colorado River. The students paddle two-person, 17-foot canoes and carry all of their own gear and food. Each night, they camp on the riverbank. Students swim, have water fights, spend time in the sun, and enjoy a positive, community-building outdoor experience.

Upper School Retreat
Seniors all go on a final retreat to Big Bear at the end of the year, right before graduation, to signify the culmination of their high school experience.