I always appreciated traditional learning environments and teaching methods, but the most effective and impactful learning in my life has come through experiential education, which in layman’s terms one might call “learning by doing”. So when I discovered the Independent School Experiential Education Network (ISEEN) annual institute after 15+ years working in traditional schools, I felt like I had found my path. It was January of 2011 in Atlanta and their “storm of the century” covered much of northern Georgia with a debilitating 4 inches of snow and ice and left much of the region in disarray. And while most conferences with that type of logistical chaos would have packed up their bags, resigned, and shrugged, “better luck next year”, the ISEEN organizers and attendees did what they as experiential educators simply do best: they surveyed the damage, problem solved, and resiliently plowed a modified course to create a successful educational experience.
Fast forward eight years and four more conference visits later and I attended ISEEN this January in New York City for the first time as an Educational Service Provider rather than a school administrator. The host school was Riverdale Country School and the keynote was delivered by their visionary Head of School and character development champion, Dominic Randolph. During his opening remarks, he shared this slide titled, “Paths Not Roads”. Overly simplified, he was saying that learning character development should be more natural and organic than engineered. There is a road to mastery, but you must take a path to enlightenment.
Upon reflecting on his presentation, I felt assured that Find Your Path Utah - teaching character development in the outdoors setting - was a curriculum and pedagogy that could inspire. My colleagues in the room asked me if I paid for a product endorsement ;) The skills needed to solve the world’s many challenges - the resilience and grit not quit, the problem solving to creatively find solutions, and the awareness of self, others, and your surroundings - are the key objectives of Find Your Path Utah experiences.