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Pitching Tents Really Makes Sense…

How & Why Dewey Does Camping…

Fresh Air Is Beyond Compare…

Students on a JDA hike.

From an early age, we are all taught that being outside in the fresh air is good for you. However, in today’s fast-paced world, we are often too busy pursuing other goals to take as much advantage of ‘mother nature’ as we probably could… and should. Whether one is looking to succeed within John Dewey’s microcosm of life and/or trying to make it in the outside world, balance always seems to be a challenge. An attitude of achievement can often overtake our beings to such an extent that we forget to carve out that all-important downtime to ‘chill’

Nature Nurtures…

John Dewey Academy is nestled on 63 acres amidst beautiful rolling hills and scenic hiking trails. That makes it very easy to integrate the natural surrounds into daily school routines. In fact, our setting provides an array of wholesome opportunities to enhance therapeutic sessions and Athletics Program offerings. Our location in the Berkshires also gives us proximity to some of the most breathtaking mountain trails and camping grounds.

Learning Through Living…

At Dewey, we believe that you cannot tell someone to learn, they need to want to learn. To inspire our students in positive ways, our program is uniquely designed to encourage ownership of one’s personal journey. Jobs and community upkeep roles are doled out and supervised by student peers. Each adolescent is accountable for balancing his/her job assignments along with a rigorous academic schedule. We call it “learning through living,” because insights emerge in real time as each teen tackles the universal challenges of daily life. This is the way in which we consistently transform struggling teens into successful ones…

Taking A Break Can Be Great…

Part of character building at Dewey is learning to ask for help when it is needed. We do not advise students when they need a break from their hectic schedules, they come to us to request such needs and wants.  A recent example is a weekend camping trip that came to fruition. James, a senior at Dewey had just finished taking his ACT’s and was feeling a need to decompress.  He realized the stress of college apps was weighing heavily on him. Concerned about his focus skewing externally, he wanted to carve out “uninterrupted time with his thoughts, outside of school, to get back in tune with himself.” Having camped often with his family when he was growing up, James always found nature rejuvenating.

Camping Rocks…

James approached Meg, Dewey’s Clinical Director about the prospect of a “no agenda, non-therapeutic, unregimented camping trip” because he knew she was an outdoor enthusiast with seasoned camping skills. Meg was immediately receptive and supportive of the whole idea. A second Dewey clinician, Nick, volunteered to co-lead the expedition. They identified a destination 3 hours away, situated in the peaceful forest preserve of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness region, in the Southern Adirondacks. The option to participate was offered to everyone. 6 students volunteered for the trip; 4 seeking the same opportunity as James, a chance to slow down and reflect; while 2 new students thought the trip offered a great bonding experience.  Between James and Meg, all necessary camping gear was able to be procured. Once supplies were evenly divided by weight across the backpacks of the Dewey campers, they drove the car to the trail entrance and hiked about 5 miles to their designated campsite. All 8 returned after the weekend feeling a lot more invigorated than when they started.

John Dewey Academy Hikes!

Chillin’ is Fulfilling

James was able to recognize the tendency to “feel like we are all just jumping from one thing to another.” Those of us with goals to accomplish can easily get swept away in all the activities we have on our plate. It takes strength of character to be aware of the times we need to personally reboot, acknowledge it outwardly and ask for help in finding solutions to remedy the situation, before it becomes out of control. We could not be prouder of the fact that James demonstrated an essential life competency we strive to inspire in all our students.  Assimilating the ability to self-regulate, monitor inner needs and find balance in life is key to being a healthy and successful adult. Indeed, the world would be a better place if everyone could learn when, where and how it is necessary to stop, reflect and ‘pitch one’s own tent…’