Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education


Our school's mission addresses the development of four distinct strengths in our students: Disciplined Minds, Sound Character, Healthy Bodies, and Creative Spirits. Our Outdoor Education program addresses all four of these aims. Experiential programs provide opportunities for individual strengths and weaknesses to come to the fore, allowing individuals and groups to appreciate meaningful differences among people. Experiential education can present unequalled opportunities for teachable moments and new insights into human relationships. It is about what happens inside−the growth and development educators constantly encourage. In short, experiential educational programs provide opportunities for groups to get to know each other on a deeper level and work together with a focus on improving skills. We have built a widely recognized and highly respected Outdoor Education program over the past 15 years.


RHP's Outdoor Education program intentionally takes students (and teachers too) out of their comfort zones. During the week we are removed from the noise of televisions, cell phones, and traffic and placed in situations where appreciation and understanding of nature, ecosystems, and environmental issues emerge. Cooperation and collaboration are not only encouraged but required for many of the activities. 

Many students are outdoorsy types and just love every moment. Others prefer the indoors and don't mind saying so. In many ways the latter students benefit most from the program, because they are doing things they might never have done in their life and may never do again. It is these students who otherwise might have had a really hard time with unfamiliarity and independence during those first few weeks away at college, but now are more prepared to meet the challenges of living away from home, dealing with roommates, and cooking, eating, and cleaning on their own when that time comes.

" Much of what students learn on these trips prepares them for the non-academic challenges of being away from home when it's time to leave for college. I believe that a huge part of our graduates' success in college is down to their being prepared to work with others in unfamiliar surroundings during the Outdoor Ed weeks," says Head of School Peter McCormack.


The Outdoor Education Experience

Students participate in annual Outdoor Education trips each fall. The school contracts with outdoor/experiential education organizations to lead each program. School faculty and staff accompany the students as active participants and chaperones. Attendance each year in grades 9-12 is required for graduation.

• It is the intent of the Outdoor Education program to:
• encourage respect for nature;
• offer challenge by choice;
• offer opportunities for experiential learning;
• explore the different ecosystems present in southern California;
• begin to see the relationship between urban needs and the natural environment;
• and promote opportunities to encourage and enhance cooperation, teamwork, and class unity. 

Grades 5 and 6 - Camp Gilmore, Santa Monica Mountains
October 8-10, 2013
• directed by Naturalists at Large
• cabin program
• freshwater biology
• geology
• water resources (pollution, sewage treatment, and water sources)
Download packing list.

Grade 7 - Science Camp, Pali Institute, Lake Arrowhead, CA
October 7-10, 2013
• directed by Pali Insitiute
• dorm-based program
• forest ecology
• earth & space science
• low ropes initiatives
• high ropes challenge
Download packing list.

Grade 8 - Lower Colorado River
October 7-10, 2013
• directed by Naturalists at Large
• tent program
• outdoor meal preparation
• river & desert ecology
• canoe handling techniques
Download packing list.

Grade 9 - Camp Cedar Lake, Big Bear
October 7-10, 2013
• directed by Naturalists at Large 
• lodge-based program
• riparian, chaparral & mountain studies
• high desert forest ecology
• local natural history
• orienteering
• nocturnal adaptations
• hiking
• ultimate ropes course (low and high)
Download packing list.

Grade 10 - Joshua Tree National Park
October 7-10, 2013
• directed by Naturalists at Large
• tent program
• outdoor meal preparation
• desert ecology
• geology & native history
• astronomy
• rock climbing & bouldering
Download packing list.

Grade 11 - Yosemite
October 7-11, 2013
• directed by Naturalists at Large
• camping
• hiking
• mountain ecology
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Grade 12 - Catalina Tall Ships Expedition
October 7-10
• directed by Los Angeles Maritime Institute
• life aboard the Tole Mour a156 ft. 3-masted square top sail schooner
• shipboard chores & sail handling & maneuvers
• snorkeling
• oceanography & marine science
• ship navigation, astronomy & meteorology
• sailing history & culture
Download packing list.