Why Cascadia School?

Take a moment to read about our school, its goals and how it provides life changing experiences for today's teens.

1).  Outdoor Pursuits

Over the last decade, there has been a tremendous growth in the popularity of “adventure sports” and “adventure travel”. Students seeking active learning in the outdoors come to Cascadia for training and instruction. Whether it is backpacking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, canoeing, camping or travel, students receive tremendous amounts of instruction – both personalized and in a group setting. Students learn theory along with technical skills and they become competent in decision-making, judgment, and risk management. Our Cascadia courses feature theory and sequential skill training that leads to proficiency in a variety of outdoor pursuits.

2).  Active Learning in the Out-of-Doors

From the outset the founders of Cascadia Adventure Education School chose to emphasize an educational construct with a cutting edge curriculum as opposed to operating an outdoor teen entertainment business. That’s one of the primary reasons that has set us apart from the pack. Each one of our courses has been designed with outcomes in mind. Hundreds of hours of planning and piloting has been undertaken to craft and perfect our program offerings. There are a lot of ways to learn about adventure sports, leadership and service, but none are as effective as the Cascadia experience. Our hands-on, focused, learn by doing approach means that our students get the skills they need to be competent, responsible outdoor enthusiasts. For more details on learning outcomes refer to our course descriptions.

3).  Service Learning

In a time when people can feel powerless, a history of altruism can be the balm as it reveals the power of helpful and humble acts. It reminds us that constructive changes in human affairs arise from intention, not coercion. Cascadia students are introduced to the ethic of service and the merits of civic engagement. Every Cascadia extended course (7 days or more) provides students an opportunity to participate in a thoughtfully organized service project. The project integrates meaningful environmental service with instruction and reflection to enrich their learning experience. Service learning acts as a springboard for becoming engaged in civic life serving the earth, communities, or other people.

4).  Leadership Development

As parents, as mentors, as teachers we long to see youth grow and develop and become leaders ready to meet the challenges of the century. Although they may be enthusiastic about this notion other priorities often compete for a teenagers time -- academics, sports, extracurricular activities, applying for scholarships, getting accepted to college, after school jobs – to name a few. At Cascadia our programs have set opportunities for leadership development as a top priority. Using an experiential methodology students learn to put their egos in their pockets, view others as partners, develop trust, communicate effectively, collaborate, make decisions and build shared visions. Students learn that to lead is to serve, to give, to achieve together. We know of no better setting where students can come together and have so much personal growth and fun along the way.

5).  Natural Awareness

Earth Education is the masterwork of Steve Van Matre who has spent much of his life crafting programs that help students develop a deeper relationship with the natural world. At Cascadia we take this goal to heart. Every one of our programs include experiences designed to heighten awareness, stimulate the senses and sense of wonder, and give students a new appreciation of natural beauty. Special guest appearances, readings, personal journaling, discovery packs, moments for solitude, positive role modeling and contagious enthusiasm are all ingredients, when mixed together, deliver surprising outcomes. Once students rediscover their relationship with the earth they tend to make serious life-long commitments toward preserving and protecting it.

6).  Global Perspective

The world is changing before our eyes, and it has never been more important to be part of that change. Your children are in line to address the challenges of our generation. Our world travel courses immerse students in amazingly exotic places where they share powerful, life-changing experiences with their fellow travelers and new found friends. While each course features outdoor-based adventures an equal emphasis is placed on connecting Cascadia students with residents, young and old, in our host communities. Depending on the course students may be lucky enough to have a home stay or work side by side with community residents on a local service project. These authentic experiences are life changers for our students. They are given the training and resources to make connections, celebrate diversity, learn skills and study the language. In the end, we have set the stage for young people to build cultural bridges that lead to greater global understanding and cooperation.

7).  Friendships, Fun and Adventure

John Muir loved life. He spent his life exploring and roaming through America’s wild lands grabbing on to life at every turn. The French saying “joie de vivre” might be a way to describe the spirit of John Muir. Roughly translated it means living life with a sense of excitement and energy. Another similar phrase, “pura vida” is commonly used by Costa Ricans to express a philosophy of strong community, resilience in overcoming difficulties with good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune and good friends. Like both John Muir and the people of Costa Rica, we at Cascadia make a special effort to nurture a culture of vitality, community, and zest by injecting lots of fun into the day, bonding and befriending each other, and throwing ourselves into the action. Needless to say our course instructors are experts in setting the stage for this type of culture we speak of. “Pura Vida!”



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