Experiential Education at OES refers to a broad range of learning experiences that complement and supplement the academic program. While “learning by doing” is a part of virtually all of our classes, the Experiential Education program is formalized in Service Learning, Winterim, the Outdoor Program, Discovery, and Backyard Exchange. Including both group and individual pursuits, the program is intended to give students an opportunity to apply what they know to “real life” situations and to learn from new experiences. The activities also help students to broaden their familiarity with different environments and cultures, learn leadership, cooperation and coping skills, gain a sense of the effect they can have on the world, and develop a spirit of adventure.
At the beginning of the year, each class has a group experience. The Freshmen focus on getting to know each other and travel to an off-campus location for two nights; the Sophomores journey into wilderness areas of Oregon and Washington for a four-day backpacking experience; the Juniors participate in an introduction to the college search process; the Seniors retreat to offer service to the community and to look at their roles as leaders in the school.