By: Ben Hoffman, Odyssey School of Denver
The Odyssey School of Denver is a public K-8 Expeditionary Learning charter school in Colorado. A non-profit, Odyssey serves a highly diverse student population, 33% of whom are part of the free and reduced lunch program. We aim to support academic success by providing a stimulating learning environment and a robust outdoor education adventure for all our students.
If a student were to begin at Odyssey in Kindergarten and graduate in 8th grade, they would have access to 18 overnight Adventure-Education trips. With an average 16 trips per year for the past 21 years, Odyssey has conducted over 300 overnight Adventures! Each year is a bit different, but each trip pushes the mission of Odyssey forward by connecting students to their community and the natural world.
The Bates Sisters represent Odyssey and love the Adventure Program. Fiona, Vivian, and Elana have all learned at Odyssey for the entire nine-year period. They believe in the importance of these trips and advocate for their value to school culture. Elana (current 7th grader) has learnt the importance of taking care of one’s self and the integral part everyone plays in building community. Fiona (current 11th grader) believes in Adventure’s mission to help develop students’ relationship with nature and the outdoors. Vivian supports the entire Adventure Program because she has made friendships and built relationships with people she never thought would have connected with each other.
Key to Odyssey’s Mission and Vision for the Adventure Program is the ability to offer high quality, reliable equipment to students. By providing the equipment necessary to safely enjoy the outdoors, Odyssey is able to take away one of the greatest barriers to access, the cost of gear. Burley has helped support one of our most challenging trips; our 5-day cycling trip throughout Denver pedaling during the day and sleeping in local and state parks at night.
Vivian feels “lucky” to have been a part of the 7th grade cycling trip. She recalls the difficulty and value of the trip through this memory, “I had a lot of fun on this trip and one part was carrying a Burley trailer behind us. It was hard but it definitely was rewarding because I carried the water for the rest of the group. I think it is really cool that Burley will be able to help support us to be a fully self-supported trip where every student pulls a trailer with all their camping gear.”
Odyssey has the unique opportunity to provide this outdoor classroom environment to many underprivileged students who otherwise would not have the chance to experience high impact activities like this. These activities develop lifelong habits that benefit students’ lives and their surrounding community.
To learn more about Odyssey School of Denver, visit www.odysseydenver.org
Check out the first episode of Odyssey School’s “Adventure Podcast” to hear students share how the Adventure Program helped them discover a love for the outdoors and about their expeditions with their Burley trailers.