Twelve students traveled from Miami to Jackson Hole, WY for 10 days of outdoor adventure and exploration. The Miami students, joined by two students from Atlanta, GA and three adults, stayed at the Jackson Campus of Teton Science Schools from July 21 to 30, spending their days exploring Grand Teton National Park and the Jedediah Smith Wilderness.
Guided by instructors from Teton Science Schools, the Miami students investigated topics such as glacial ecology, wildlife ecology, and wilderness skills by exploring the landscape of Grand Teton National Park. Students also had the opportunity to canoe on String Lake and Leigh Lake, hike to Phelps Lake and Inspiration Point, and participate in community service work by building bluebird nest boxes to help improve bird nesting habitat in Jackson Hole.
A highlight of the experience in Wyoming was a three-day backpacking trip in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness to Alaska Basin and their ascent to Static Peak (11,303 feet) in Grand Teton National Park. Students also enjoyed spending a day honing their rock climbing skills with Exum Mountain Guides at Hidden Falls.
These shared experiences had a powerful influence on many students that they shared on their final night of the program. Students said that the rock climbing experience helped them to overcome fear of heights and anxieties, and enabled them to take on more challenges in their daily lives.
Spending 10 days without electronics proved difficult for some but raised their awareness of just how much they have come to over-depend on electronics. Students also said that they saw new leadership qualities in each other that developed through overcoming physical and emotional challenges. They acknowledged the support that they received from other members of their team and made commitments to take what they have learned and apply these new skills to overcoming challenges in their lives back home.
“It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. It helped improve my confidence and helped me to erase my fear of heights,” said Zack, one of the students.
Higher Grounds Teton Adventure Camp founder Dr. Gary X. Lancelotta, is the director of Child Psychology Associates in South Miami. The Higher Grounds Teton Adventure Camp is an extension of a weekly rock climbing group aimed at keeping kids off electronics and overcoming obstacles in their lives. Dr. Lancelotta, who organized and ran the trip for the third year this summer, has provided this select group of students with a memorable Grand Teton adventure.
“There were a number of challenges along the way,” Dr. Lancelotta said. “For some it was the challenge of hiking seven and a half miles up to 9,600 feet elevation in the Alaska Basin [which took eight hours], or facing the fear of completing all five pitches of rock climbing (climbing 300 feet) at Hidden Falls, or the challenge of nailing Static Peak at 11,300 feet, or managing the fear of surviving sleeping in a tent in a wild mountain storm, or learning how to problem solve with peers. “Regardless of what each boy received, a seed was planted that will hopefully grow to help them in whatever challenges lie ahead this coming year and in life.”
For more information about Teton Science Schools’ programs, visit online at <www.tetonscience.org> or contact Joe Petrick at 1-307-734-2786 or by email at Joe.Petrick@tetonscience.org
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