Day at The Outdoor Academy?
Days at The Outdoor Academy are busy and fulfilling. We strive to use our time well, and each day integrates academic work with other activities like Craft class, community Work Crew, and free time.
The sample schedules below are examples of what a day at OA might look like. Weekdays on campus will vary, with a variety of academic classes alongside blocks that integrate Community events or Outdoor Programming. Also, remember that a quarter of our days are spent off-campus on our various outdoor adventures. There’s truly never a dull day here at The Outdoor Academy!
Click on a part of the schedule to learn more about a day in the life of an OA student.
The Leader Of the Day rings the bell to wake campus up, and we all head up to the Sun Lodge for Morning Watch. As we gather in silence and walk up the trail, I remember how this hill used to feel so hard at first; now my legs are stronger, and I look forward to it every morning.
Together we watch the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I know it’s going to be an amazing day here at OA.
We “Give Thanks” as a community and then dig into another delicious breakfast: fresh scones, scrambled eggs, fruit, and local bacon. There are always vegetarian options, and the chefs are happy to help with dietary needs, too.
This morning I head to Spanish with Rodrigo. We’re hosting a café for the other students next week, so we’re practicing our welcome speeches and conversation topics.
Choice period is next, where I finish up my reading for US History. I then have plenty of time to toss the Frisbee on the lawn, write a letter home, and get my gear ready for this weekend’s climbing trip to Looking Glass.
Before lunch, we dig into our statistics projects in Math. We’re conducting surveys of our classmates and analyzing the results. Yesterday, we used our geometry skills to set up trellises in the garden.
Time for community contributions. Today I take the compost down to the garden and then help Sarah prepare today’s lunch: coconut curry with potatoes harvested during yesterday’s Work Crew, and some fresh bread made by the Kitchen Craft class.
Once a week we have lunch with our advising group. Today, however, I sit with my English teacher and some of my cabinmates. We have a great time discussing our favorite bands.
My teachers are all available to meet during Office Hours after lunch. I stop by the Hillside porch to chat with Emily about the topic my group has chosen for our Envi Sci class: Youth Climate Activism. She helps me find some readings and gives my classmates feedback on the activities we’ve prepared. They pull together climate science with the history of environmental activism, which I think is pretty interesting!
After that, I hang out in the music building with my bunkmate and listen to our favorite playlist.
To prepare for our student-led classes next week, we spend today’s Environmental Science class talking about the science behind climate change and learning how to compute a biodiversity index. In English, we’re peer-editing our Hometown essays based on writings from bell hooks, Tommy Orange, and Jess Walter.
Craft class is one of my favorite times of the week! Last rotation I learned how to whittle a spoon from Will, a professional woodworker who is also an OA alum. This rotation I chose quilting, which is actually pretty challenging. McNeill is always happy to give advice as I make my first attempt at a finished product (She’s also an OA alum!)
After our weekly Community Dinner with the faculty and staff, I have some time during Study Hall to finish up the day’s work. Once I’m done, I work on my present for our end-of-semester “Giving Day”. I’m so excited to see what everyone has made for each other!
After another Goodnight Circle under the stars on the field, we head back to cabins. There’s time to shower, have a Cabin Check-In, hang out, and get ready for tomorrow.
As I settle into bed, I’m tired and content. Another great day at The Outdoor Academy.
Sample On-Campus Daily Schedules
|Weekday||**15-25 minute breaks occur between each class||Weekend||**Weekend activities are planned by a rotating student committee with assistance from the Residential Life staff|
|7:00 AM||Wake-Up Bell||9:00 AM||Wake-Up Bell|
|7:15 AM||Morning Watch||10:00 AM||Student-Cooked Brunch|
|7:30 AM||Breakfast||11:00 AM||Weekly Cabin Clean-Up & Cabin Meeting|
|8:15 AM||Spanish||12:00 PM||Free Time|
|9:30 AM||Choice Period (Free)||(3:00 PM||Optional "Craft-ernoon" or Trail Hike)|
|10:45 AM||Math||6:00 PM||Dinner|
|12:00 PM||Chores & Lunch||7:00 PM||Coffee House Talent Show|
|1:15 PM||Office Hours & Free Time||9:30 PM||Goodnight Circle & Cabin Time|
|2:00 PM||Environmental Science or English Block|
|4:00 PM||Appalachian Craft Class|
|6:15 PM||Community Dinner|
|7:30 PM||Study Hall|
|9:00 PM||Goodnight Circle & Cabin Time|