Orientation Outings and Skill Building

Alzar School | 22.08.18

Students are well into their second week at Alzar School. Semester thirteen is settling into their routines, beginning to understand the flow of campus and working to develop their outdoor and leadership skills. Over this and the next few weeks, students are diving into their academic classes, setting out on Orientation Outings, engaging in service projects and learning how to manage risk in the outdoors.


Pod B, or the self-proclaimed “Zen Squad,” headed out on a hike.

Amidst the bedlam of these introductory lessons and expeditions, we sat down with a handful of students and to ask them about their thoughts and feelings prior to the Orientation Outings.

Annelise: I’m nervous; I’ve never really been backpacking before and don’t know what that will be like.

Barrett: I’m excited to spend time getting to know this group of people.

Abby: I’m stoked to start kayaking and to get to do all of the things we’ve heard about and seen online.

Mac: I’m super excited to go rafting. I went on the Salmon River with the Alzar School Roam summer program and am excited to go again, but this time on the Payette.

Kristen: I am looking forward to going hiking and spending time in nature.


Penelope chopping wood.

Despite the theme of nerves, students are having a blast in the field this week as they build skills. They are learning about the Leave No Trace principles and how to navigate topographical maps while exploring the West Central Mountains of Idaho on their day hikes. They are talking about and practicing swiftwater rescue skills while splashing down the Cabarton section of the North Fork of the Payette River. They are learning to chop wood and plant trees to prevent erosion as part of dedicated days of service on the Alzar School Campus. And together, they are mimicking medical emergency scenarios to practice basic Wilderness First Aid. Student enthusiasm and engagement has us looking forward to spending more time in Idaho’s wildernesses on our first round of full expeditions come September.