Throughout my time working at Summit Adventure, I have enjoyed the privilege of witnessing the marvel of young adults thriving in community together, despite their stark differences. A few years back, Bobbie and Tanya arrived at the Summit Adventure Semester Program, choosing to spend their “study abroad” immersed in close-quarters community. Bobbie, a laid-back musician with little direction in life, came from a highly dysfunctional family. Tanya, however, was a very motivated, self-starting outdoors-woman from a stable, loving home. They couldn’t have been more opposite from each other, and I wondered if learning in such close-knit circumstances would help or hinder them.
For Summit Adventure’s most recent course, we teamed up with eight Bridgemont high school students, led by their principal, Evan Anderson. Bridgemont, a private Christian school in San Francisco, features a Field Studies program as a part of their curriculum in order to implement a well-rounded education that extends beyond the classroom. Students choose one of four outdoor adventure options to participate in for a grade.
Millennia ago, biblical and historical texts show the Israelites, Jesus, and the members of early Christian monasteries spending significant time in remote wilderness or backcountry areas to improve relationships. More recently, camps and adventure programs such as Summit Adventure have continued this practice by taking participants out on wilderness courses, lasting from a few days to several weeks. While research has long documented the success of this approach in improving interpersonal skills, a new study sheds light on using backcountry living as an integral way to improve relationships between dads and their children. By extension, it is not hard to see how the same approach would also help relationships between mothers and children as well.