Outdoor Lab High-achieving Week

If there are two things Hadley loves in this world, they are art and the outdoors. Combine the two and that girl of mine is in her element.

In November, she joined all the sixth graders from her school to attend Outdoor Lab, the longest continually running outdoor education program in the western United States with two locations: Windy Peak and Mount Evans. For five days, she was immersed in an outdoor academic setting while learning about herself and how she fits into the world around her.

We thought that was the end of it until we were notified that her art teacher Mrs. Counterman nominated her to attend Outdoor Lab’s High Achieving Week during summer break. It’s an honor to be nominated in any subject–from astronomy to art to wildlife forensics–and only the best and brightest attend from our entire county. I really wanted to do it but with the uncertainty with our move and finances, I didn’t think we could swing it so was grateful when Jamie’s mom offered to send her.

Unbeknownst to us, Hadley’s two very best friends at school, Alex and Ellie, had also been nominated for the art program at Mount Evans. Talk about serendipity!

Their week went something like this:

Monday: Initiatives rope course; raku glazing and firing; make sketchbooks/journals
Tuesday: fly tying and fishing; drawings; fish carvings and prints
Wednesday: morning hike (mandalas); afternoon hike (oil pastel landscapes)
Thursday: cyanotype prints; finish projects; artist statements
Friday: hang artwork for display; surveys, artist trading cards
Alex’s mom Lisa and I drove up on Friday for parent’s day and Hadley was positively beaming as she showed me all her treasures from the week with 14,000-foot Mount Evans as a backdrop.


As we were leaving, there was a prominent ranch gate displayed with this quote from John Muir:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

We couldn’t agree with him more.

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