2017 domestic COURSES

Rock Climbing at Smith Rock

Let’s rock climb! Whether a veteran or a newbie, spend two days indoors and four days outdoors climbing the best Oregon has to offer. We will “learn the ropes” locally at indoor rock climbing gyms where you will have a chance to practice your skills and ask all the important questions. Then we head east to Central Oregon to climb at Oregon’s premier rock climbing venue, Smith Rock. We will spend four days at Smith Rock where all climbing will be guided by a rock climbing instructor. The nights will be spent in yurts nearby where we will have most of the amenities of home. Join us and have a blast climbing the sheer walls of Smith Rock while enjoying the spring sunshine of Central Oregon.  All gear, transportation, food, lodging, and instruction are included in the price of the course.  Beginners are welcome.

  • Trip Dates: March 19-March 23
  • Enrollment: 8-15
  • Cost: $600
  • Course Leaders: Taylor Feldman & Deri Bash

The American Civil War: A New Birth of Freedom

We will explore the events that tore the United States in half and learn how it came back together. We will walk the ground where America bled as it irrevocably came to grips with the words of the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal” and Abraham Lincoln’s question “whether any nation, so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure?” Although many soldiers fought to preserve the Union, or to defend their homes, slavery was the root cause of the war. We will start by following the path of John Brown to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where his failed vision of a slave Insurrection left the slave states ready to secede after the election of Abraham Lincoln.

The next day we’ll go to Manassas/Bull Run, Virginia, site of the first major battle. We¹ll see how two green armies and the country learned that the war would mean death, ugliness, and no quick end. We’ll spend the next four days in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, walking some of the most sacred ground in America. We¹ll experience Devil¹s Den, Little Round Top, The Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge. We¹ll walk Pickett¹s Charge as Confederates and then relive it as Union soldiers, waiting for the approaching enemy. We¹ll learn what it was like for the civilians to be surrounded by battle.

We¹ll visit the National Cemetery where Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address and called for a “new birth of freedom.” We’ll finish with a day in Civil War Washington, D.C. visiting Ford¹s Theater and Arlington Cemetery. On our way to the Lincoln Memorial we will visit the Vietnam Memorial and reflect on how America was torn apart again by that conflict. We’ll end at the Lincoln Memorial, focusing on Lincoln¹s Second Inaugural Address and its call for reconciliation along with Martin Luther King¹s “I Have a Dream” speech and its vision for America. You¹ll be challenged to articulate your vision for America through the prism of this Winterim experience.

Note: The trip will involve considerable walking, at times over uneven terrain. Students will be outdoors during most of the day and it is likely to be cold.

  • Trip Dates: March 16-24 **THIS TRIP RUNS ONE DAY INTO SPRING BREAK**
  • Enrollment: 10-12
  • Cost: $1500 + $100 recommended spending money
  • Course Leaders: Ron Silver & Kati Stenstrom

Outdoor School Counselor 

Being a Washington County Outdoor School Counselor is one of the most fun, inspiring, and rewarding experiences you can ever have!  As a Counselor, you will learn valuable leadership and teaching skills.  You’ll learn how to lead interactive, hands-on outdoor activities with small groups of sixth-graders that are simple and fun. You’ll also get to work with many great students from other high schools, some of whom could become lifelong friends. As an Outdoor School Counselor you’ll gain valuable volunteer experience that looks great on college and job applications. You can earn transferable college credit, and complete one of your service learning projects at OES, too!  And, most of all, you will change the lives of elementary school students, often in ways that you'll never know.

  • Enrollment: 6-18
  • Cost: Free
  • Course Leaders: Washington County Outdoor School Staff


Travel with us to Northern Minnesota to enjoy an experience unlike any other. We will spend four days on the lakes and trails of the Boundary Waters, driving two-person sleds with a team of four to five Inuit dogs each. Experienced guides will provide hands-on training on the first day, and then you will handle your own team of dogs, including feeding and harnessing them every morning. We will stay in lakeside lodges each night (with an option to camp outside one night!). There will be a chance to try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and a Finnish sauna. We will also pay a visit to the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, to observe and learn about the native timber wolves. Get ready for an amazing experience, and prepare to fall in love with dogsledding!

  • Trip Dates: March 16-21
  • Enrollment: 8-12
  • Cost: $1900
  • Course Leaders: Bettina Gregg & Liz Weiler

Represent OES at "Dare to Dream" National Service Learning Conference 

"Dare to Dream" is a lively, inspiring conference, and you'll come home super energized about Service Learning and full of exciting new ideas. Join a thousand people--students, teachers, and service professionals from all over the US, and many from other countries--all focused on how best to use their power for good. This can count as a service learning project or lots of ON or OFF campus hours! Note that the conference ends on March 24, which is one day into spring break. We plan to send a delegation of 2-4 students and several teachers.
Applications are due Monday, November 28. 

If you wish to apply, email Robin Schauffler or Maria McIvor to get the Conference application and details. Please also submit a Winterim registration form with your other five Winterim choices. 

  • Enrollment: 3-4
  • Cost: $300
  • Course Leader: Maria McIvor

Midnight Train to Montana

This train and ski excursion is designed to provide a variety of winter activities in the Whitefish Ski area of Montana, a mountain with 360 degrees of diverse ski trails. Transportation will be provided by Amtrak and resort shuttles - the rental house is on the slopes of the ski resort, so students will ski in/out each day from the porch.  This trip is for students new to skiing/boarding or those who don’t have the opportunity to hit the slopes very often, and will provide students with an immersion opportunity to learn, improve and enhance their skiing or snowboarding skills during 5 days of active mountain time. Students will also plan, organize, and shop for meals and plan evening activities for the group.

  • Trip Dates: March 16-23
  • Enrollment: 10 students who are not on a ski/snowboard or freestyle team
  • Cost: $1100 + equipment rental if needed
  • Course Leaders: Coleen Davis & Rob Orr

Model United Nations: New York City

This Winterim will take students to New York City to participate in the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference, Wednesday 3/15-Saturday 3/18. The remaining days of the Winterim trip will be spent visiting with non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and service organizations in New York that work to create international peace, and touring the city.

**Please note that this group will leave Portland two days prior to the start of Winterim due to the conference schedule.**

  • Trip Dates: March 14-March 23
  • Enrollment: 10-20 (Must be enrolled in MUN activity winter term)
  • Cost: $1100-$1400 depending on enrollment
  • Course Leaders: Mike Gwaltney & Chiman Chen

Cross Country Ski Adventure

One of the best ways to enjoy winter and find solitude in the Pacific Northwest is to go Cross Country Skiing. This course is designed to give you the skills to become a competent Cross Country Skier. The first two days will be spent doing day trips to nearby groomed and ungroomed cross country ski areas near Portland where you can practice your “kick and glide” technique.  Sunday you will travel and stay in Bend, Oregon.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will take you on a three day/two night hut to hut traverse in the Three Sisters Backcountry.  

This experience gives you the opportunity to see the awesome splendor of the Three Sisters Wilderness during the winter, and without having to carry a huge backpack since these huts are outfitted with bedding, stoves, and even food!  Wednesday night, upon completion of this adventure, you will enjoy a “night out” in the town of Sisters, Oregon, and Thursday you will travel back to OES. This trip includes hired guides Matt Bedrin and Nicole Gaines, potential special guest chaperone Mo Copeland, ski and equipment rental, all lodging (including backcountry huts), meals, and transportation.  Beginners and experienced cross country skiers are welcome.

  • Trip Dates: March 19-March 23 (local trips 3/16 & 3/17)
  • Enrollment: 8
  • Cost: $800
  • Course leaders: Matt Bedrin, Nicole Gaines (Mo Copeland potentially on the backcountry hut traverse)

Ommm: Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit, Mindful You!

Interested in learning more about your own growth and wellness in an active, fun, rejuvenating way? Explore healthy living at its best in this Winterim by learning new ways to invigorate and strengthen your body, calm your mind, and tickle your funny bone!

Each day will include a chance to elevate your heart rate through activities like nature hikes, canoeing, laughter yoga, and Nia dance. In seeking balance and stress reduction, we will explore the ways in which the environment and our communities can enhance who we are in the world. We will explore how the foods we eat, alternative treatments (like bodywork and sensory deprivation saltwater floats), art, music, and silent reflection can contribute to wellness and growth.

Finally, our Winterim group will take a deep dive into mindfulness, play, and self-exploration with a two night retreat in a beautiful, natural setting. Join us for an energizing and relaxing week of exercise, deep breathing, joyful eating, mindful healthcare, and play!

  • Trip dates: Overnight retreat March 21-23 (two nights); local activities other days
  • Enrollment: 8-18
  • Cost: $350
  • Course leaders: Amanda Weber-Welch & Callie Schulman

Backpacking in Utah

Get ready to explore southeastern Utah from tops of plateaus to bottoms of canyons. After flying into Salt Lake City, we'll drive to the remote four corners region to see the wild and pristine canyons of Utah. Follow a winding ancient riverbed through history on a four day backpacking trip to see murals and ruins that might date back to 1400 AD. Hike along enchanting creeks that wisp through ancient red orange canyon walls. Camp under an infinite tapestry of stars at night. Listen to the howl of the coyote or the elusive Gunnison sage grouse. Breathe in the intoxicating aroma of wild sage, Pinon Pine, and Juniper. Learn about the ancient Anasazi who lived in these canyons for thousands of years. This is rugged and beautiful terrain, and rewards of traveling into it are memories for a lifetime.

  • Dates:March 16-March 23
  • Class size: 8-10
  • Cost: $950
  • Instructors: Doug Ironside, Ryan Holland, and Jenny Cleveland

Sailing and Surfing in San Diego 

This Winterim is for water lovers! Students will explore the sacred ocean and connect with nature as they learn to sail and surf in San Diego. With a scheduled 22 hours of lessons, each student will be versed in equipment, terminology, tides, swells, currents, surf conditions, safety, and etiquette. Plan to leave with an excellent foundation in surfing skills and single-handed Sabot skippering.

Our location also gives us the opportunity to explore the ecology of Mission Bay, the largest man-made aquatic park in the country. Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1852, it is home to many rare & endangered species of birds. And, finally, the students will connect with each other over their struggles and triumphs in the water and over shared meals in our beach home in Mission Bay. All participants need to know how to swim and will need to pass a swim assessment (swim 100 yards and tread water for 10 minutes) in order to take part in the course. 

  • Trip Dates: March 16-23
  • Enrollment: 12
  • Cost: $1400
  • Course leaders: Chad Gilton & Bevin Daglen

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