Outdoor Program

Program

If you like the outdoors, you've come to the right place.

The mission of the NMH Outdoor Program is to enrich the athletic, residential, and academic programs at NMH by providing adventure and instruction in exploring the outdoors. The Outdoor Team (OT) and outdoor outreach activities lead students to new levels of personal responsibility and achievement as well as an appreciation of the natural world. Program instructors are further charged with infusing their students with skills and enjoyment that promote different outdoor pursuits as lifelong recreational opportunities.

Outdoor Team
The foundation of the outdoor program is the NMH Outdoor Team (ATC 317), which meets fall and spring terms. The OT satisfies the athletic team and co-curricular requirements in the term it is taken. Activity concentrations include instruction for flat and whitewater canoeing, mountain biking, road biking, and stand-up paddle boarding. Competitive events include participation in off-road triathlons, canoe racing, and mountain biking.

Community service is also a component of the OT syllabus with an annual contribution to the Source to Sea Connecticut River Clean-Up. From time to time, the OT helps out at the NMH farm when many hands are needed for projects such as springtime sap collection.

The outdoor program is also active in the winter term with a Winter Outdoor Class (PEC 312) meeting on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Featured activities in this class include fat biking, ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. This class provides co-curricular and physical education class credits.

Outdoor Outreach
The Outdoor Program plays a significant role with orientation, leadership, and student activity opportunities at NMH. At the beginning of each school year the ninth- and 10th-grade orientation programs revolve around activities in the outdoor world. Freshman and sophomores enjoy a variety of activities designed to encourage individual and class bonding, such as orienteering, an introduction to canoeing, low-ropes initiatives, and a campus-wide eco-photographic challenge. These two orientations also provide a significant leadership opportunity for many of the school’s Resident Leaders, who have been trained to contribute to these field days.

The Outdoor Program also plays a major role in facilitating the annual Mountain Day for the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes. The Outdoor Program and OT maintain and mark the section of the New England Scenic Trail used by these classes, as well as risk-management overview and supervision on the day of the hike.

In support of NMH academic and residential life programs, the Outdoor Program designs and facilitates initiatives requested by classes such as Humanities I and Social Entrepreneurship, as well as assisting student activities with the dorm intramural program. Additionally, the Program provides summer experiential learning opportunities for students enrolled in programs such as the Summer Orientation and Academic Retreat (SOAR), Advancing Scholars and Leaders (ASL), and Upward Bound.

Equipment and Clothing
NMH provides all of the equipment needed to participate safely with the outdoor team and the specialized activity classes. Industry-approved equipment such as canoes, personal flotation devices, dry suits, climbing ropes, harnesses, snowshoes, and sleeping bags are provided for student use. Students are required to be adequately equipped with clothing and footwear as advised for the season.

Safety

While Outdoor Program classes emphasize adventure, exploration, and fun, safety is the foundation on which all activities are built. All programs maintain industry-standard student-to-instructor ratios. Senior instructors have an advanced medical certification such as wilderness first responder. Instructors carry a cell phone and first-aid kit on all off-campus trips. All instructors are committed to a policy and protocols agreement that promotes safety-first considerations in all decision making.

Outdoors and PE/A

The Outdoor Program is administered as part of the physical education and athletics (PE/A) department. The program director is a graduate of the yearlong Outdoor Leadership Program at Greenfield Community College, and holds current certifications from the American Canoe Association and Wilderness Medical Associates. The outdoor instructors are assisted from time to time by faculty with activity-specific experience and expertise.

Specialized outdoor classes satisfy the PE/A course requirement in the term they are taken.

Philosophy
All outdoor instruction at NMH shares a common philosophy of promoting a connection to the land, and a respect for the natural world and one another.

Photos

View photo galleries of some of our recent outdoor education activities.

Activities

The Outdoor Education Program (OEP) plays a significant role with orientation, leadership training, and student activity opportunities throughout the school year.

The ninth-grade orientation program revolves around the outdoor world, with activities such as hiking, canoeing, and bicycling as part of the orientation process. This time is also a significant leadership opportunity for many of the school's student leaders who have honed their leadership skills with activities, initiatives, and their own orientation in the outdoors.

Toward the end of spring term, the OEP puts on the Adventure Challenge, an on-campus race using bicycling, canoeing, and orienteering skills for two-person student/faculty and four-person student leader teams.

In the fall and spring terms, OEP coordinates Hogger disc golf tournaments for the NMH community.

Outdoor instructors are also available to supervise independent physical education studies, to oversee student club activities such as canoeing and cross-country skiing, and to facilitate any outdoor experience a classroom teacher may have in mind.

More Information

Equipment and Clothing
NMH provides all of the equipment needed to participate safely with the outdoor team and the specialized activity classes. Industry-approved equipment such as canoes, personal flotation devices, dry suits, climbing ropes, harnesses, snowshoes, and sleeping bags are provided for student use. Students are required to be adequately equipped with weather-appropriate clothing and footwear.

Safety
While Outdoor Education Program (OEP) classes emphasize adventure, exploration, and fun, safety is the foundation on which all activities are built. Two instructors accompany each off-campus activity. At least one of the instructors will have an advanced medical certification such as Wilderness First Responder. Instructors carry a cell phone and first-aid kit on all off-campus trips, and each mountain bike instructor also carries a two-way radio. All instructors are committed to an OEP policy and protocols agreement that promotes safety-first considerations in all decision making.

Outdoors and PE/A
The OEP is administered as part of the physical education and athletics (PE/A) department. OEP instruction is provided by a program director/instructor and an instructor, both of whom are members of the PE/A department. Both instructors are graduates of the yearlong Outdoor Leadership Program at Greenfield Community College, and hold current certifications from organizations such as the American Canoe Association and Wilderness Medical Associates. The outdoor instructors are assisted from time to time by faculty with activity-specific experience and expertise.

Specialized outdoor classes satisfy the PE/A course requirement in the term they are taken.

Philosophy
All outdoor instruction at NMH shares a common philosophy of promoting a connection to the land, and a respect for the natural world and one another.

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