Due to the large volume of students at WRMS, the program requires an application process as well as invitations for various outdoor experiences. In other words, WRMS students earn the opportunity to participate in an outdoor trip by taking the initiative to complete an application which requires them to speak with two trusted adults in their lives, who then must complete letters of recommendation of the student's’ behalf. In addition to the application process, the program’s board of directors (Wellness Department) gain input from the WRMS faculty regarding students who they believe may benefit from this opportunity, such as students: having referrals for consistent behavior issues; currently not participating in any after-school activities; or identified by teachers and staff as a “red flag” in anyway (i.e.lacking self-confidence, signs of depression, low performance academically, low income etc). Theses students are given an invitation to attend the outdoor program.
The program is designed to provide students an opportunity to travel throughout the state of Idaho, discover their personal strengths and weaknesses while building friendships, and ultimately, “let the outside in” for a lifetime to come. Students in the 8th grade at Wood River Middle School will have the opportunity to participate in one of four trips provided every year. In addition, program expansion to the 7th grade with a winter trip is in-progress.
Participating eighth-grade students have the opportunity to attend backpacking, whitewater rafting, and two rock climbing trips; participating seventh-grade students will have the opportunity to snowshoe to a yurt and learn about backcountry safety and snow science. Funding is needed for spring 2018 trips, which include: whitewater rafting on the Hagerman stretch of the Snake River, as well as rock climbing at the City of Rocks. Each trip will take place over three days, and two nights. The bulk of the expenses are due costs associated with guiding services, food, equipment, permits, and additional transportation needs that are not currently provided for by the Blaine County School District.
The WRMS Outdoor Program is unique and one-of-a-kind in the valley because it is free to students regardless of socioeconomic status.
WRMS has a remarkable opportunity to identify students who will benefit from an outdoor education experience, thus empowering the students to build resilience and self-worth for a lifetime.
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