Mount Ellis Academy Staff, Students Explore God’s Creation

September 24, 2018 | Doug Schmidt

Few schools can claim the outdoors as their classroom. However, that is exactly what Mount Ellis Academy (MEA) does. Every year, MEA students spend the first week of classes outside at either outdoor school or senior survival. Montana offers a rich outdoor experience and countless ways to connect with God through nature, and MEA takes full advantage of its location in Bozeman.

Every year underclassmen at MEA take part in outdoor school. These four-day excursions rotate between canoeing down the Missouri River like Lewis and Clark or camping at either Glacier National Park or Grand Tetons National Park. Each excursion incorporates place-based learning, an educational technique that enriches the students’ experience by immersing them in what they are learning. Teachers from all subject areas take part in the trip, incorporating coursework that reflects what the students see and experience on each trip.

While the underclassmen are in outdoor school, MEA seniors are surviving four days in the Crazy Mountains. During senior survival they learn about Jesus’ love and care through good and bad situations, their classmates’ leadership qualities, and practical survival skills like building shelters and fires. Together they cook two meals a day over the fire and have many opportunities for spiritual discussions. By the end of the week, the seniors gain a stronger understanding of what it means to reflect the love of Jesus to their fellow students and community.

Starting off the year at outdoor school or senior survival sets a different tone for the students experience at MEA. Students forge new friendships while working through challenging situations together. They spend the week in the outdoors, providing them a unique setting to grow closer to each other and to Christ. MEA believes there is no better way to experience and connect with God than to spend time in His creation. Students find that by the end of the week they have forged lasting memories and built lifelong relationships with friends and with Christ.