Experiential Learning Program

experiential learning

Chris Hayward, Director of Experiential Learning, teaching a Wilderness First Aid course in the Yurt at Pine Hill

From the moment a student steps foot onto campus, that student becomes a bonafide explorer and is almost immediately whisked away on an introductory three-day backpacking or canoe trip. Why leave campus so soon upon arrival? It’s adventures like these that help our students connect with fellow classmates and faculty, and to see first hand how incredible our location really is. It’s also a precursor to the many, many more experiential learning opportunities for exploration to come. From week/weekend service and outdoor leadership trips to travel abroad adventures and our beloved Four Point program, opportunities like these help shape our students into well traveled, responsible citizens.

Experiential Learning Activities

Opportunities to explore and serve are exceptionally easy to come by thanks to a passionate group of faculty members and students intent on using their time to make the most of our incredible location. While here, students can take part in:

  • Week/weekend service trips
  • Outdoor weekend excursions including camping, canoeing, climbing, surfing, swimming, etc
  • Outdoor leadership opportunities including certification in and experience with Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, and Avalanche Safety
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring Outing Club trips
  • Reachout (Gould’s service club)
  • Projects and Animal Care at Gould’s Farm

Experiential Traditions

Other experiential opportunities at Gould include traditions that have students waking up for sunrise skins (sometimes followed by powder turns), jumping into icy waters, and testing gravity and their tolerance for heights –– all in the name of fun. (And, yes, they are all super fun!)

  • Ninth grade ropes course day
  • Mountain Day
  • Earn Your Turns
  • Earth Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Service
  • Polar Bears

International Travel Opportunities

For those students interested in taking their travels one step further and immersing themselves in other cultures, there are a host of abroad experiences that take place throughout each year:

  • Live and study in Spain for the spring trimester or take part in a shorter two-week spring trip. As a part of an exchange program, students live with a host family, speak Spanish, and tour the country with stops that include Zaragoza, Madrid, and Barcelona.
  • In April, students are invited to participate in a four-day trip to Quebec City where, once again, students can practice their French linguist skills, as well as tour the city’s various historic and culinary attractions.
  • Other travel abroad experiences include China, Ecuador, Tanzania, Guatemala, and more.

Experiential Learning Program Director

Chris Hayward

Director of Experiential Learning
B.S. Saint Joseph’s College
Outing Club Coach
SOLO Wilderness Medicine Instructor

Mr. Hayward has worked with adolescents since 1995, both at Gould and before that in a variety of wilderness/adventure therapy programs. He is a Registered Maine Recreation Guide, Registered Maine Whitewater Guide, Ski Patroller, Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, American Mountain Guide Association Single Pitch Instructor, SOLO Wilderness Medicine Instructor, and the Director for Mahoosuc Mountain Search and Rescue Team (a local volunteer search and rescue group). He is passionate about programs that offer both adventure and the development of skills to Gould students. In addition to being the school’s director of experiential learning and point-person for Gould’s signature Four Point Program, he also teaches a ski building class and coaches the Outing Club and Ski Patrol Program.