Late last year, the staff at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina, asked for our help in creating a unique and meaningful 10-day, outdoor and adventure-based out-of-country expedition for a handful of its high school students.
In particular, Cape Fear’s educational leaders were looking for a diverse destination that would enable their students to immerse themselves deeply in a new culture — an adventure that would extend far beyond selfies, social media, suntan oil, and sand — and which would reinforce the school’s own values and curriculum. Known for designing and leading custom outdoor education programs for private and independent schools, we were happy to help!
The original Cape Fear Academy was established in 1868 as an independent school for boys. After closing in 1916, the school was reestablished 52 years later in 1968 with the commitment of “forging capable young adults with skills, confidence and resilience to take risks, solve problems and overcome challenges.”
So, it was with that focus in mind that the school asked us here at The National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education (NCOAE) to custom design an expedition for nine of the school’s students, along with a chaperone from the school and three NCOAE field instructors. Their destination? Ecuador.
Our staff prepared an itinerary that incorporated the school’s objectives of instilling confidence, facing challenges, taking on informed risks, and solving problems. After all, those missives mirror the (more…)
The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) has forged an academic relationship with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) that will see UNCW students earning up to six academic credits for participating in and completing educationally-focused backcountry expeditions thousands of miles from campus and lasting up to a month.
Beginning next spring, UNCW students can study in magnificent outdoor classroom settings that include Chile, Patagonia or Alaska. As a result of this accord between the university and our North Carolina-based outdoor adventure organization, these adventure courses are now counted among the approved academic activities for the university’s Department of Environmental Sciences (EVS) students.
The trio of field courses — timed to coincide with scheduled breaks during the University’s 2018/19 academic year — provide UNCW students with some serious hands-on outdoor activities and lessons that are pretty much guaranteed to (more…)
Editor’s Note: Stephen Mullaney, NCOAE’s lead instructor, recently returned from our first-ever program abroad — an expedition to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Stephen led a group of South Korean high school teens on a six-day expedition through portions of this mystical and spiritual country. Below are his reflections on what he describes as a triumphant adventure trek.
It’s five in the morning and students participating in The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education’s (NCOAE) first-ever international expedition are all still asleep in their tents. I sit on the trail in the village of Pothana and look toward the horizon. A local villager named Chimay is blowing incense my direction — to bring me luck, he says.
Off in the distance, what first appears to my sleepy eyes to be clouds reveals itself for what it truly is: a vast stretch of snow fields and rock. Time to retrain my brain and the way I see the sky. My eyes follow the snowfields up, up through the clouds, to what seems like an absurd height, finally resting on the summit itself.
Machapuchare — “the Fish Tail” as it is interpreted in English — is a sacred mountain honoring Shiva (one of the main deities of Hinduism). The mountain is off limits to climbers and only one known attempt was ever made to summit its massive peak. Those climbers (three of them in 1957) stopped just five hundred feet from the summit, not because they couldn’t go on, but out of respect for the local culture and beliefs of the native people.
Viewing Machapuchare is how I kick off my first day on the trail for NCOAE in Nepal. A holy mountain that is pristine, respected and an earthen barrier that turns back explorers out of respect and sensitivity — not fear. Details about the mountain were provided to me by a local woman, a guide named Sita. She saw me drawing a picture of the mountain in my journal and volunteered to share its history with me.
We are in Nepal where I am teaching students to be (more…)
Months of planning and organizing have brought success! We recently completed our first program abroad — an expedition to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal with a group of South Korean high school teens.
South Korea-based Apex Global Leadership Center (AGLC) joined with us for this adventure-based spring break program that emphasized leadership education. Traveling in the Annapurna region of Nepalthe adventure included our very own Stephen Mullaney as lead instructor, Matt Seats as course director and assistant instructor, and Matt Evans, an assistant instructor who joined as expedition videographer. Sean Hill, founder of Apex, also participated and instructed. This NCOAE custom program delivered beginner-level leadership and outdoor technical skills training with world-class views and cultural sharing.
The students and our instructors flew in from around the globe and met in Kathmandu, where they were driven to a teahouse just in time for dinner. After a night of shopping the Kathmandu markets for backpacking food and breakfast the next morning, the team went back to the airport and on to Pokhara four hours to the north and west. Following a late lunch at a lakeside guesthouse, the students (more…)
You know us as The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), but after today’s news, we may need to change “National” to “International”. That’s because we just booked our first overseas program — a March 2015 custom outdoor education expedition in the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
Sure, we’re still offering courses like our Alaska Teen Adventure (for grades 10-12), California Youth Adventure (for grades 8-9), and the always popular North Carolina Teen Adventure (for grades 10-12), but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the good folks at Apex Global Leadership Center, NCOAE will be facilitating a spring break leadership program for South Korean teenagers traveling in the Annapurna region of Nepal.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, Apex is a Seoul, South Korea-based outdoor and adventure leadership program, and when their founder, Sean Hill — a Wharton School of Business graduate living and working in South Korea — contacted us last summer about running a trip in Nepal, we jumped at the opportunity. After seven months of planning and working out a myriad of details, we’re happy to report that our team will be (more…)