Summer Journeys Core Curriculum

Our core curriculum elements combine to encourage the development of a sense of place. People seek a sense of place because familiarity with the social, environmental, economic, and personal features of their surroundings:

  • Energizes and invigorates people. Calms people too.
  • Provides the most authentic context for real learning.
  • Leads to a richly connected and meaningful life.
  • Enables people to discover and follow their true inclinations.
  • Develops compassion through experience and perspective.


Learn how everything is connected: altering one element of any system - whether it's wolves in Yellowstone or watersheds in Michigan - affects all other elements.


Put into practice elements of leadership - competence, compassion, communication, judgment, tolerance, awareness, vision, and action - in authentic, high-consequence, well-managed situations.


Set aside your personal agenda for a while to enjoy the freedom of working for others. Complete act and projects of which you are proud. Leave gifts for the world.


Learn the benefit of choices and activities marked by foresight and thoughtfulness; enjoy the present, invest in the future, restore your world.


Create memorable expressions in response to experience; develop observation and documentation skills that record your learning.


Immerse yourself in the voices from the past and present who share their stories, and advocate for the value of, the places we visit and ideas we discuss.


Work with museums and historical centers; artists, scientists, and writers; and teachers and field practitioners to learn the stories behind the people, places, and events we experience.

Outdoor Skills

Learning to live comfortably and safely in a backcountry environment with real environmental hazards. Develop real awe and wonder for the unmediated natural world.


Learn the value of observation, reflection, and documentation in order to enhance your experience and share your experience with others and with your future self.


Through experiences like stakeholder mediation, learn the wisdom of achieving respectful disagreement to help us to do right, seek fairness, and reach solutions that preserve community.

Active Lifestyle

Feel the joy of exercise outside in clean air with a well-hydrated, well-fed body! Enjoy increased confidence, the achievement of meeting challenges, and the sublime rest that follows exertion.


Engage phenomena, places, events, and people thoughtfully in order to clearly share your learning with various audiences (from your personal journal to a large group of people).