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Students backpacking in the mountains

- Brooks Letchworth

You can only Google so far; sometimes you just have to go.



Adventure Education is all about growing as a person. More specifically, it’s about the kind of person it helps you become. Mindset is defined as “the established set of attitudes held by someone.” The most basic goal is to build positive attitudes when faced with challenges. Adventure Education encourages self-reliance overall.

Adventure Education helps students learn how to work together, support each other, and solve problems. The natural world becomes the classroom, offering rich opportunities for authentic learning. Through diverse and dynamic outdoor experiences, Adventure Education fosters student engagement, empowerment, empathy, and respect for self, others, and the environment.

A student helping another student who fell on voyage in the mountains


Students filling water bottles on voyage



Not only does Adventure Education help to build a sense of crew at our school and beyond, it also honors different kinds of intelligences and interests.  We recognize the importance of teaching the “whole child,” which means that students engage in more than academic learning.  Adventure Ed. is a natural avenue for students to access 21st century skills such as creativity, communication, problem solving, global awareness, civic responsibility, systems thinking, health/wellness, and resiliency.   

Students benefit from Adventure Education through empowerment, collaboration, building trust and empathy, mindfulness, and acquiring the essential skills for safe and sustainable utilization of the outdoors.  Another important goal of Adventure Ed. is to cultivate an understanding of environmental systems and gain perspective about our human impact on the planet.

Teachers and students canoeing on voyage



The voyage experiences build from year to year, so that a sixth grader learns basic skills, while a seventh grader would take more ownership by exploring youth leadership and more advanced mountaineering. By eighth grade, students are given more responsibilities to plan the voyages.

High school students have much of the planning responsibilities for their own voyages, but with more freedom to choose destinations and programming.  High school trips will start to focus out of state and internationally in the coming years.

Further goals include offering multiple voyages each year, with some focusing on adventure and others that are driven by content.

A Student's Reflection

In this documentary, created for his Senior Capstone Project, Jackson Miller '20 reflects on his voyages and the benefits of outdoor education.

The Senior Capstone Project is a highlight of the senior year experience at Renaissance Secondary School. It is the culmination of a student’s education, encouraging students to think critically, problem solve, and integrate their full academic knowledge into a meaningful and personal project.

Students backpacking on voyage in the mountains


All students are required to have a current sports physical on file in order to participate in overnight Adventure Education voyages. A current Sports Physical is one that has been completed within one year of your child's voyage date. 

Typically summer is a great time to make an appointment with your child's physician for a physical exam, especially if your child's voyage is in the fall.


6th Grade Fall Voyage - Adventure Sampler & Outdoor Basics 

When: Oct 28-30

Where: YMCA Camp Shady Brook in Deckers, CO


We’ll begin at YMCA Camp Shady Brook on the beautiful South Platte River. We’ll be staying onsite and enjoying meals provided in their grand dining hall. This voyage is all about sampling different types of outdoor adventures. Students will get a taste of archery, ax-throwing, boating, camp games, fishing, nature art, obstacle challenge course and cliff rappelling; plus plenty more fun and fresh air! We’ll also learn the basics of LNT and being good stewards when recreating outdoors. 

Please dress appropriately, bring two full water bottles, Day One sack lunch, and 2-4 small snacks.

6th Grade Gear List

7th Grade Fall Voyage - Outdoor Skills and Backpacking Prep

When:  Sept 24-27, Oct 1-4, Oct 8-11 

Where:  Ben Delatour Scout Ranch (BDSR) - Red Feather Lakes, CO.

What: Voyages are designed to teach students to thrive in the outdoors, in the classroom, and beyond. On this voyage, students will learn all the basics of being outside - including building fires, LNT, the 10 Essentials of survival, filtering water, orienteering, tent basics, food prep, and learning how to backpack. On our final afternoon, students will head out on a backpacking overnight to put to use all the skills they have learned.

Please dress appropriately, bring two full water bottles, Day One sack lunch, and 2-4 small snacks.

7th Grade Gear List

8th Grade Fall Voyage - Backpacking

When:  Aug 19-21, Aug 21-23, Aug 26-28, Aug 28-30

Where: Brown’s Peak Loop - Snowy Range, Wyoming 

What:  Embark on an unforgettable backpacking journey to the untamed wilderness of Wyoming with your crew. Amongst towering peaks and lush forests, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while building deep connections with your fellow adventurers. Traverse pristine trails, encountering wildlife and awe-inspiring vistas along the way. As you explore alpine meadows and refresh in mountain streams, you'll not only delve into the wilderness, but also enhance the outdoor skills you acquired in 7th grade, such as navigation and survival techniques. Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or new to our school, this trip is designed to captivate and challenge all participants alike!

8th Grade Backpacking Gear List

9th Grade Voyage - Spring of 2025

When: TBD

Where: TBD

What: TBD

10th Grade Spring Voyage - Avalanche Awareness and Snow Science - Hut Trip

When:  Feb 4-7, March 4-7

Where:  Near Leadville, Colorado

What: Winter backpacking anyone? Our 10th Graders will be snowshoeing to a 10th Mountain Division hut in the backcountry. On this trip, we’ll discover how to test snowpack conditions, learn about the effects of climate change on our fragile winter ecosystems, and build snow shelters that would help us survive the cold! We’ll also play in the snow, build community, and enjoy some of the most gorgeous vistas of the high country from the comfort of our premier backcountry cabin. Come out and see why Colorado is renowned for its winter glory!

10th Grade Hut Trip Gear List

Junior Fall Voyage - Canoeing 

When: Sept 3-6, Sept 10-13, Sept 17-20

Where:  Gunnison River and Dominguez Escalante Canyon

What: Our most popular high school voyage has always been the canoe trip. Colorado canoeing on the Gunnison River will spark your sense of adventure with opportunities for hiking and exploring, floating in your life jacket and camping along the river's edge. During this Colorado canoe trip, you will be dwarfed by high walls of red sandstone and shale deposited during the age of the dinosaurs.  The idea of Crew really takes on a more authentic meaning when traveling for days by boat.  Time on the river is magical and unforgettable.  RSS at its best!

Please dress appropriately, bring two full water bottles, Day One sack lunch, and 4-6 small snacks.

11th Grade Gear List

8th Grade Rite of Passage - Backpacking

When:  End of April / Beginning of May

Where:  Wyoming

What: The transition between middle school and high school is a big time in an adolescent's life. On this backpacking voyage, the crew treks to Wyoming - the wilderness without designation. Students spend a lot of time in solitude, reflecting on who they are, and who they want to become as high schoolers. Students take time to soak in the last middle school voyage, bonding as a crew.

12th Grade Rite of Passage - Student Choice

When:  TBD - May

Where:  TBD

What: In the spring, seniors will make the incredible transition from adolescence to adulthood. This voyage will be centered around that Rite of Passage. As a culmination of students’ time spent at RSS, Seniors will take on the challenge of planning and executing their own Rite of Passage trip this spring. Our Adventure Education staff will work with them throughout the school year to help them hammer out the details of logistics, budget, food, transportation, and activities. We will use their input to create a unique and unforgettable adventure. This final chapter of the voyage journey is not to be missed!

Gear Lists

Gear Lists are subject to change depending on the needs of specific voyages (location, season).  Colorado weather is unpredictable and sometimes severe.  It is best to be prepared in terms of survival gear, while also discerning which items to avoid in order to minimize pack weight.


Students should be responsible for Voyage packing.  Longer voyages often include a gear check prior to leaving so that students have an opportunity add anything they've forgotten.    


Renaissance does maintain a limited inventory of select gear;  in the event your child needs to borrow an item please request the item with your child's teacher prior to gear check.

See trip descriptions for specific gear lists for each voyage.

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