Principia Upper School students kick off each school year with a week of outdoor expeditions known as “character trips” to develop teamwork, cooperation, leadership and character. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors participate in programs such as rafting, mountaineering and sailing, while seniors combine outdoor challenges with leadership sessions and service during their Senior Retreat. 

Principia partners with Outward Bound, a nonprofit organization that provides experiential education through outdoor education programs for youth and adults. Over the years, Outward Bound and Principia have created trips to destinations all over the country. This year, freshmen went whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River in Oregon, sophomores hiked and participated in outdoor activities in Colorado, juniors sailed along Hurricane Island in Maine, and seniors embarked on their retreat in Northern Michigan.

“Character trips are designed to develop leadership and communication skills, confidence in overcoming challenges and a strong understanding of what it takes to thrive as a team,” said Upper School Principal Christen Alford. “The intentional culture building and unity that forms during our trips is pivotal in setting a firm foundation for our school year. Students learn how to embrace this opportunity for growth and discovery as well as to joyfully overcome adversity.”