Every fall when Leelanau School students arrive on campus for a new school year things start a little differently.
Rather than jumping right into academics, our students set off on outdoor adventures we call Exploratory Trips – a kick off to the upcoming year of Experiential Learning. These trips set the tone for what life at Leelanau will be like and allow students new and old to “experience” something together; something that will be built upon in the coming months and years.
Two of the themes that begin with Exploratory Trips and continue throughout the school year are “Council” and school values. We believe in the development of the whole person, not just a student’s academic skills, and as such, students participate in a tradition known as Council, which is a way to communicate, connect, and learn about one’s self, each other, and their place in the world. Additionally, during Exploratory Trips, students are introduced to Leelanau School values and become familiar with the norms and expectations of our community.
Community Core Values
Resilience Awareness Courage Leadership Stewardship Integrity Interconnectedness
This year each class participated in these amazing experiences:
Freshmen: Explore Yourself within The Leelanau School Community
Freshmen were introduced to Council during their Exploratory Trip which was to the Leelanau Outdoor Center (LOC). There they spent three days and two nights learning about each other and becoming familiar with the outdoor environment. The first night was spent in a cabin and the second night was spent tent camping. The LOC staff worked with faculty and students doing group initiatives, including a ropes course, and provided camping gear and tips on how to use it. The ninth grade faculty Council team was present at all times to help the students pack for the trip, provide support and encouragement, learn about each student as an individual, and provide supervision and support overnight.
Sophomores: Venture Forth into the Community: Leadership, Stewardship, Integrity.
Sophomores also spent their
Exploratory Trip at LOC and had a similar experience as the Freshmen. Some of the skills that our tenth graders worked to develop included thinking beyond one’s self, taking healthy risks, collaboration, and courage. Returning students lead discussions with new sophomores regarding ”doing Council”.
Juniors: Quest for Independence and Responsibility
Juniors set off on their trip to the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, where they spent three days and two nights hiking, canoeing, and camping along the dunes. Staff from LOC joined our faculty in working with the students doing group initiatives. The eleventh grade faculty Council team was present at all times to help the students pack for the trip, provide support and encouragement, learn about each student as an individual, and provide supervision and support overnight. Some of the skills the eleventh graders worked to develop included understanding and demonstrating one’s personal gift to the community, conscious awareness of self, and the development of leadership.
Seniors: A Time for Introspection
Seniors traveled to Leland and then boarded a ferry to South Manitou Island for their final Exploratory Trip. Once on the island they carried all of their gear and supplies in packs to their camping area where they spent three days and two nights. The twelfth grade Council team was present at all times to help the students pack for the trip, provide support and encouragement, learn about each student as an individual, and provide supervision and support overnight. The twelfth graders worked to ripen their awareness of self, make informed decisions, and realize individual potential and place within the community.
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