Aspen Times Weekly: Life 101 — ExEd offers lessons beyond the classroom |

Aspen Times Weekly: Life 101 — ExEd offers lessons beyond the classroom

compiled by Jeanne McGovern
Urban Immersion — The Bronx, 2014. What it is: Volunteering and exploring service opportunities in the Bronx. What it is NOT: It is NOT a shopping trip.
Courtesy photos |


What We’re About:

The Aspen Ski Swap began in 1954 with the goal of providing locals, particularly families, with a cost effective alternative to buying new equipment and clothing each year. In its earliest years, no money was exchanged. The addition of Vendors has not diminished the Community Event that the swap has always been.

We Give Back:

The real winners, in addition to those who score great deals, are the district’s students who benefit from donations made to outdoor education programs, everything from canoe purchases to individual scholarships, and wilderness first-aid and first-responder training for faculty. About $40,000 is donated to the school district annually to support these programs that would not be able to continue without it.

100% Volunteer, Community-Led:

The Aspen Ski Swap is truly a grassroots organization. the Swap is run by a committee of 15 or so parents, teachers, former students and members of the community. The Committee plans and leads swap day volunteers (over 200 each year).

Outdoor Education Programs & Experiential Education Courses:

The Aspen School District provides students one of the most extensive Outdoor Education programs in the country. Beginning in Elementary School and continuing through High School the programs foster adolescent growth through intellectual, emotional, physical challenge and reflection in order to develop respect and understanding of self, others, community, and the environment.

If you go ...

What: Aspen Ski Swap

When: Saturday, Oct. 18, 9-5

Where: Aspen Middle School


From a soup kitchen in the Bronx to a surfboard in San Diego, and from the White Rim in Moab to the home of the Civil Rights movement in the South, Aspen High School students set out for some hands-on learning in September. And with three dozen ExEd courses to choose from — focused on everything from the outdoors to the arts to service learning — the week spent away from the classroom was filled with teachable moments.

“I especially love Experiential Education because it provides professionals an opportunity to bond with students in a way that is impossible in a typical classroom setting,” says AHS Principal Kim Martin. “Of course, great relationships can be made in a typical setting, but ExEd puts students and teachers in unique situations, often overcoming challenges and learning new things, and through that shared experience, authentic relationships are created.”

On the following pages are “postcards” from several ExEd trips and the course descriptions; there’s also information on the annual Aspen Ski Swap, which helps fund the district’s Outdoor Ed and ExEd programs.

We think these images and words say it all.

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