A Wilderness Opportunity for Students seeking to balance university academics and the outdoors.  A semester programs.

Wilderness programs and adventure-education travel are central to the mission of the Castle Rock Institute. The Institute creates for students an integrated experience designed to challenge them in a supportive and structured environment. It offers unique wilderness programs.

Off Campus Programs

The Castle Rock Institute offers students semester-long programs that combine wilderness adventure, academic courses in the Humanities awarding college credit, and an emphasis on small-group living. It balances needs and expectations while creating something fun and educational for everyone involved. Students read, write and discuss almost every day, just as they enjoy a wide range of group outdoor adventure activities and settings. The Castle Rock Institute is dedicated to wilderness programs, to helping students investigate links between ideas drawn from the Humanities and who they are individuals.

Whitewater kayaking and boating fun

The Humanities and Real Life

The Institute's programs encourage interdisciplinary thought and intellectual experimentation by focusing on a particular issue, idea or theme drawn from the Humanities. This theme serves as the main topic of discussion and area of investigation for students at the Institute. From reading Plato to kayaking, from writing an essay about nature poetry to rock climbing, from arguing about animal rights to backpacking- life at Castle Rock is exciting.

A Full Semester of College Academic Credit

Each Castle Rock program accommodates only 8-12 students at a time, and with four professors and numerous support staff, students enjoy an incredibly personal experience. They know that their personal needs are taken seriously and that they can receive exactly the kind of encouragement and guidance they may require. This kind of intimacy, combined with significant time outdoors, provides a fantastic opportunity for self-reflection and growth. These wilderness programs strive to balance and integrate learning and adventure.

An Alternative College Experience

It offers many ways to examine and discuss what assumptions and concerns a student has, and to do so in the context of a caring community of peers. Gaining this kind of self-awareness leads quite naturally to increased self-esteem and confidence, and ordinarily propels students to new levels of achievement. Leaving the program, scores of our past students have gone on to college (or back to college) revived and inspired.

Wilderness Programs

The Castle Rock Institute is an outdoor adventure education organization that offers residential wilderness programs for college students. It recognizes that being a college student is not always easy, and that for many students, college life or simply trying to make it on a university campus leads to a whole range of problems. When a student has trouble adjusting to college, is burned out, or perhaps has lost interest in being at school, the Castle Rock programs can offer a real and beneficial alternative. Our programs are designed to address the needs of college students as they face the possibility of dropping out (or flunking out!) because they have had difficulty finding the right school, been distracted by personal or social pressures, or suffered from low academic achievement, poor grades, or performing far below their potential.

What College Should Be

What is college beyond the partying and the playing around, beyond the classes that seem boring or irrelevant to real life, beyond the meaningless emphasis on how one looks, what car one drives, what grades one makes, or what fraternity or sorority one pledges? What can it be if all this superficial dross is striped away? At the Castle Rock Institute we think college can be living with good friends who care about you, staying physically and intellectual active, participating in a real community, exploring who we are as human beings, becoming closer to nature, learning what it means to be a leader, and finding a grounded sense of self. It's not about "getting a job," or "getting ahead." It's developing and balancing aspects of who we are. It's about making a life.

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