The developmental task of young adolescents is to create an authentic image of themselves – both as powerful individuals with a real and meaningful contribution to make, and as capable and responsible participants in a community.  In keeping with the Montessori tradition, the middle school community is central to the adolescent experience.

The Odyssey Trip is a journey that marks the beginning of adolescence – the transition to becoming a young adult.  Unlike today, the adolescent had a defined role in the past – helping the family meet its fundamental needs.  This was an important stage in life that was celebrated, and often defined by a ‘rite of passage’ or ‘odyssey experience’ that symbolized the ‘coming of age.’  Separation from family, facing fears or uncertainties and making careful decisions, even in the face of adversity, were a necessary part of the experience.

At Providence Middle, the Fall Odyssey Trip provides a coming of age experience that allows each student to magnify his/her own independence as well as realize meaningful interdependence among all as the young people lay a foundation for the community.  This community provides the opportunity to explore social relationships and to experience ‘valorization’ as they recognize that they have true value. It is a journey where the students bond with their peers and begin to recognize the diverse contributions that students of differing abilities can make.

These experiences last forever and cannot be replaced by classroom learning.  In fact, this trip forms the foundation for how we learn responsibility and develop community sensibility.  Therefore, as in most Montessori adolescent programs, scholars are expected to participate in the fall Odyssey trip.

The adolescent community is a living organism in a constant state of transition, transformation, and growth.  Community building is the focus as these young scholars work to build cohesiveness as a group. In sum, the process addresses six goals to be achieved as a healthy camaraderie takes root: affirmation, interdependence, trust, support, recognition of potential, and cohesiveness.

This trip is purposely planned with an element of safe adventure, and it is best if none of the scholars are familiar with the setting or the adventures to be encountered.  This type of situation creates a need to bond and trust each other.  Careful planning assures that participants will be able to call on each other for the assistance they need in accomplishing individual and group tasks.  To this end, a team-building course is designed to teach leadership and cooperative decision-making skills.

Scholars are encouraged to participate in all adventures, but are not asked to do anything they are uncomfortable with. They are trained to act as small and large support groups that celebrate each student’s smallest steps. Of course, a member of the Providence staff will be with each group of scholars at all times.

A beautiful park-like setting on the protected waters of Smith Creek in Oriental, North Carolina is the site of the Providence Middle Fall Odyssey Trip. The 200+ feet of waterfront is the perfect setting for the Bow to Stern Sailing School. This trip is a student favorite.

While building excitement about the sport of sailing, the Sailing School instructors will provide a 4 day program focusing on leadership, teambuilding, developing self-confidence and building a cohesive community using sailing and boating as the medium. They will work with the group as individuals, in small groups, and in one large group while gently encouraging the scholars to step outside of their comfort zones in a secure environment. On and off the water, students will be encouraged to display respect, humility, stewardship, and cooperation for the greater good.  Along the way, of course we seek to give scholars a chance to have lots of fun while building lasting friendships.

Students will progress at their own pace as they get an in-depth introduction to sailing. By the end of the week, first time sailors will have developed basic sailing skills and knowledge.