By Wilderness Faculty Megan-Mack Nicholson
Providing opportunities for families to take time away and experience the beauty nature provides has always been a focus of the Hyde Wilderness School. Comprised of over 600 acres of Maine woods, the Hyde School Black Wilderness preserve is located just north of the Bigelow Range, less than three miles from the Appalachian Trail. It is surrounded on three sides by Flagstaff Lake and bordered by the 36,000 acre State of Maine Bigelow Preserve. This pristine location provides an ideal spot for families and students to remove themselves from the trials of everyday life and take time to reflect.
Having a wilderness campus is a unique feature for a private school, and the campus itself is quite exceptional. The heart of the campus is a 1,500 square foot lodge with a kitchen, bathrooms, great room, and internet-connected classroom.
Adjacent to the lodge are three modern yurts with propane heat, electric lights, and 24 beds.
A mile south of the Lodge are three backcountry yurts with only wood stoves. These accommodations provide an opportunity where adventurous groups can truly experience “roughing it.”
We had three students up here for our Thanksgiving break. We spent our time building new decks on the winter yurts and playing in the new snow.
In addition to the Thanksgiving break trip, the Hyde Wilderness School has been focusing on new collaborations and programs, welcoming and training new staff, and building upon an already solid structure at Lennox Lodge this past year. For the 2018-2019 school year, we are running the following programs;
Lennox Lodge Signature Program
This 21-day program for students involves wilderness experiences such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking and multi-day expeditions. Wilderness skill-building exercises push students to face challenges and take risks. 15-20 hours per week are set aside for academics. Students keeps up with their school work through internet-based teacher and class interaction. This simple living allows for a greater focus on community and fosters personal growth.
Trips to Lennox Lodge are held throughout the academic year as Leadership Opportunities. These provide a way for students to learn and develop leadership skills in a small classroom. Groups average 6+ participants and trips run from two to six days.
“Outpost” is a 4-day Wilderness Experience for current students that is based on outdoor components such as hiking, camping, and community service. Outpost provides a wonderful opportunity for student reflection with a focus on teamwork and accountability.
The Lennox Lodge property is also a popular location for fall canoe trips, winter snowshoe trips, and spring Wilderness FLCs. Families brave the elements while learning new things about themselves and each other.
Split over 2.5 weeks, the first half of break students spend in Eustis, the second half is a service trip to a remote destination, this year we will be going to Puerto Rico. This is an opportunity for students to engage with their local and global community.
The summer Wild Maine! Adventures program also offers an amazing opportunity for students to backpack, paddle, and rock climb in some of Maine’s most beautiful and pristine areas. Due to its success in its first year last year, we will be offering the Wild Maine! Adventures program again this year.
The Hyde Wilderness School thrives on the challenge to bring out the best in every student and we are dedicated to creating an environment and programming that offers the opportunity for defining moments.
Head on over to our Hyde Wilderness Facebook page to see what we have been up to!