We are pleased to announce the successful completion of our modified 2020 summer program: the HMI Summer Expedition. Summer Expedition was a success and a great learning experience for our school. Seventeen high school students participated in two two-week backpacking expeditions in our nearby Sawatch Range. By all accounts, students built character, laughed, made memories, and had fun in the backcountry. In general, students and instructors adapted gracefully to our new COVID-19 safety protocols and no student or instructor tested positive or experienced COVID-19 symptoms over the course of the trip. Both students and instructors offered us feedback on our COVID-19 Operating Plan that we will be incorporating in our upcoming fall semester.
A testimonial from a Summer Expedition 2020 parent
On behalf of my husband and myself, I would like to thank you and your team for Ethan’s amazing experience. Since coming home he has been a different young man. Before Ethan left on July 5th he was always a good guy and pretty adventurous (as his parent’s we’re biased). After all, it was his own doing to research the various outdoor programs and it was his idea to select and pursue HMI. As his parents we were committed to supporting him in any way we can. As you can imagine, when the world was hit with COVID – 19 and so much in life became uncertain, this program was the one thing that kept Ethan’s attitude and spirits up. As you know all too well, it was a bit of a roller coaster. He was delighted when the program was back on.
Not hearing Ethan’s voice for two weeks wasn’t unusual for us, since he spent many summers at a sleep away camp for two weeks. However we always seemed to know exactly where he and what he doing while at camp. This was different for us all. We didn’t know, nor could we imagine where he was and what he was thinking. When he called us upon returning to camp, his voice sounded strong. When I asked how things were, his response to me was “Mom, it was transformative”. You can imagine the peace I had in my heart hearing him say that. When we picked Ethan up at Logan the first thing he said to us was “This is not really where I want to be right now”. Hearing him say those words made us feel great. We knew that meant he just experienced something special. We were thrilled for him.
That night while eating dinner he shared so many stories with us, and pictures followed. He was tired, and he was sad, and yet he felt different. He was calm and at peace and has been since he returned. Each day we learn more and more about his experience. He often tells us about the amazing bond he formed with a group of strangers. The appreciation and respect he has for his instructors Lupe, Maddie and Sam. He tells us about the lessons he learned. Some of which are “listen more”, his favorite is one from Lupe about having $5, a cup of coffee and a story to share (I might not have gotten that exactly right). He also learned that we don’t need much to feel alive and appreciate the world around us. He understands what it means to look up at the sky, or at a mountain, or swim in a cold lake and feel how massive our world is.
We wish you all a healthy and peaceful rest of the summer. Please share our gratitude with the entire HMI community.