Designing summer programs specifically for middle schoolers
By: Kate Farthing, Director Middle School, Parents, Scuba, Sailing, Marine Biology, Vet Medicine, Wildlife Biology
Summer break offers time away from the traditional classroom setting, opening doors for students to try something extraordinary. At Broadreach, we encourage younger teens to develop growth and discovery mindsets through exploration of accessible locations around the world.
“I’ve learned so much about our oceans, wildlife, culture and myself! I’ve become more responsible and aware of my surroundings!” – Olivia, middle school alumna
Our middle school adventures are all about developing students’ curiosities in a supported, introductory space. We love working with this age group to broaden their academic, extracurricular and personal interests – it’s a perfect age to try different things in a small group of students, discovering and overcoming challenges together.
One of our most popular programs for middle schoolers is our Caribbean sailing and scuba diving voyage. This adventure is led by seasoned professionals who are skilled in facilitating safe but challenging experiences for younger teens on and below the sea. Students on this voyage live our core principles of hands-on discovery, adventure, skill building and working as a team in a variety of contexts: operating and living on a catamaran, scuba diving, cultural exploration, hiking, interacting with wildlife and service to local communities.
“The entire experience was surreal, from scuba diving to just being able to wake up and see the ocean. I got to do everything I’ve ever dreamed of and that’s because of you guys – I went out of the country for the first time, wakeboarded in the waves, explored islands of the Caribbean, and, best of all, I got to breathe underwater. I had to remind myself I wasn’t dreaming when we did our first free dive and got to see all of the coral and fish.” – Sierra Goldstein, middle school alumna
On all of our middle school adventures, students receive individualized attention in small groups as they explore their curiosities, build new skills and expand their points of view in a different culture. In Belize, students explore the thriving wildlife supported by protected barrier reefs and rainforests while also diving into the rich culture and history of the country. In the Bahamas, students work directly with veterinarians to learn about animal welfare, conservation efforts and the various tracks within animal studies that students may wish to explore. On a Caribbean sailing adventure, students learn skills far beyond tacking, gybing and hoisting a sail – they plan and complete a multi-day passage, navigating their way through volcanic islands, waterfalls and lagoons, also trekking onto land to perform meaningful work with local communities.
Ultimately, middle schoolers push the boundaries of their comfort zones in supported, positive environments with the guidance of dedicated instructors. Traveling to a new place with an unknown group of people can be daunting, and we help students on our middle school programs lean into those challenges as a group to grow both individually and as members of a unit. Students are supported through these transitional periods by their fellow students and their instructors, forging tight, long-lasting bonds. We want students to develop confidence in their ability to move through discomfort by understanding that their Broadreach family will be with them every step of the way.
Kate Farthing is Broadreach’s director– schedule a call with her here.