“It may be one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life.”
Straight from our very own School Director Danae LeMoine on hiking the 10,164′ Pico Duarte with Doulos’ 9th grade students last fall.
And that’s (part of) the point.
Outdoor education is extremely important at Doulos — not just the valuable lessons learned by pushing oneself physically and doing hard things, but what’s learned experiencing our Creator through experiencing his creation.
This year as part of our scaffolded outdoor education path where students starting as young as 5 beginning learning skills that compound and complement year over year, our 8th grade students will embark on a three-day hiking trip which dovetails into the larger and more intense 9th grade full-week trip.
Recently these students have started preparing for these big milestone hikes to Pico Duarte (9th grade) and Valle del Tetero (8th grade) by going on shorter hikes every Saturday for the past few weeks and will continue this until their trips begin.
The leaders of these shorter weekend trips consist of various Doulos staff members, so our students are getting to spend quality time outdoors with a variety of teachers and staff members that they may not know very well. Anyone from our finance director, who some may know as “the money guy,” to their middle school teacher whom they know extremely well. It’s a rich time of mentorship and bonding, where our students and staff get to know each other better and lays the platform for discipleship and growth.
The idea is that our staff is coming together to provide guidance and support for our students as they navigate unfamiliar territory. Some students have never been exposed to anything like this; therefore we want to set them up for success while facing something that challenges them.
As a school we believe in investing time in preparing our students for success (and failure) in various endeavors, rather than letting them navigate these challenges on their own without any prior knowledge or experience.
Our model for these outdoor education activities is reflective of how we guide and prepare our students for life in general. We don’t want to simply throw them out into the world, but intentionally guide them step-by-step so that they may reach a point in their lives where they feel fully prepared to take on whatever their next challenge may be.