HMI Educators' Expedition: Leadership in Action

Join us this summer for a professional development opportunity to learn and recharge in the beautiful Rocky Mountains! During a week-long backpacking expedition for teachers and school leaders, you will explore what makes HMI such a transformative experience in the lives of our students and consider how you can inspire similar outcomes at your school.

If you have ever thought that you are only scratching the surface of your students’ leadership potential or wondered how you can cultivate intentional community within the classroom or in the broader context of your school, this professional development opportunity is for you. Traveling through Colorado’s dramatic Sawatch Mountains and collaborating with like-minded educators will leave you excited to take advantage of all the opportunities you have to help students realize their full potential—as leaders, independent thinkers, and thoughtful citizens.

Although no previous outdoor experience is necessary, you will be hiking several miles per day at 10,000 feet above sea level so a basic level of physical fitness is important.

HMI’s Educators Expedition provides the perfect balance of personal renewal and professional development. The opportunity to unplug and spend quality time in the backcountry with a diverse and talented group of fellow educators from across the country creates a unique space for challenge, learning and growth. I left with concrete ideas and skills from the HMI curriculum to be adapted to my own school context, a great group of new friends, and a renewed sense of purpose as a high school educator.
Chad A. Green
Dean of Student & Residential Life at Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel, PA

Program outcomes

After this expedition, you will return to your school with a clear idea of how you can move beyond simply asking your students to be leaders by teaching them how to cultivate their own effective leadership style. You will learn and practice elements of a leadership curriculum designed specifically for adolescents, and have the opportunity to consider which ones are most appropriate for student leaders at your school. Participants will wrap up the program by creating plans to implement intentional student leadership training in their schools.

Sample curriculum elements

  • Communication skills: feedback, conflict resolution, teambuilding, expedition behavior
  • Effective leadership: leadership styles, practices, roles, decision-making
  • Personal and group goal setting
  • Risk analysis: judgment and risk assessment, benefits of risk, subjective and objective hazards
  • Reflection: developing your authentic leadership style

2020 program itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at the Denver International Airport and meet the shuttle to Leadville and HMI’s 80-acre boarding school campus. Get a basic orientation, settle into your cabin in the shadows of America’s highest peaks and meet the other members of the program.

Day 2: Spend the morning preparing to head into the backcountry, and spend your first night under the stars. Pick up all the gear you will need, ranging from a backpack to the pancake mix used to make a delicious backcountry breakfast. This will also be the time program leaders review all outdoor skills you will need to thrive during our expedition.

Days 3-6: You will “learn by doing” through these days of the program. By day, you’ll hike through fields of wild flowers and over high mountain ridges, pausing several times through the day for rest breaks and to explore different aspects of leadership, ranging from different ways to approach decision making to how to evaluate risk. By night, you’ll cook backcountry meals, relax under the western night sky, and brainstorm with your peers the possibilities you see to bring intentional leadership training to your schools.

Day 7: Shower time! Return to HMI for well-deserved showers and a welcoming bed. After cleaning gear (and yourselves!), you will get to work creating a plan for how to translate what you learned during the program to the unique missions and cultures of our different schools.

Day 8: Before HMI shuttles depart for the Denver airport, say goodbye to a new support group who will sustain and inspire you as you start to undertake this ambitious work.

Travel and logistical information available upon registration.

Why HMI?

For over twenty years, HMI has offered best-in-class programs that connect people to the natural world. Participants return from HMI with the skills to work effectively on a team and emerge as leaders in their communities. We invite you to take part in the HMI experience and apply the curriculum and pedagogy you practice here to your home school environment.