A wilderness programs offering for students seeking a semester away.

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. The Institute creates for students an integrated experience designed to challenge them in a supportive and structured environment. We offer unique wilderness programs. Unlike other wilderness programs, the Castle Rock Institute semester programs have a significant academic component.

An Alternative to Ordinary College Life

The Castle Rock Institute is a wilderness center for the Humanities affiliated with Brevard College (a small liberal arts college in western North Carolina, USA). A wilderness programs provider, 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. 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. Some of our programs take students to Australia and New Zealand for a cross-cultural perspective, thereby providing an experience of international travel as well. Similarly, we have a special program dedicated to the notion of "leadership," and designed to reflect upon and practice principles guiding what it means to be a good leader.

Sea Kayaking in NZ

All of our programs offer a diversity of experience, but all in service of encouraging students to bring out the best in themselves- finding their real selves, and being proud of their talents and accomplishments.

A Personal Learning Experience

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 express how the Institute strives to balance and integrate scholarship and adventure, and how it believes that doing so benefits both.

Real College

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.

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. The Castle Rock programs, with their attention to the individual needs of every student, are ideally suited help troubled college students. When a student becomes disenchanted with school, begins to question why going to college is "worth it," and consequently has low motivation and perhaps failing grades, a change from ordinary college is often exactly what's needed. The Castle Rock Institute provides exactly this kind of therapeutic program. It provides college students and their families an opportunity to revive enthusiasm for learning, build inter-personal skills, and live a balanced life of personal, intellectual and physical challenges and rewards. It is for most, a life-changing experience.

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