One of the Academy’s greatest aspirations is to provide a safe, yet challenging environment for students to explore different ways to spend their time outside of class. From culinary arts, to mountain biking, to climbing and gardening to music production, yoga, and mindfulness, all students have the opportunity to establish new passions and inspire healthy living. The hope is to plant the seeds of healthy coping mechanisms and hobbies, while also continuing to assist them with finding their own individuality at our boys boarding school.
Upon arrival at our boys boarding school, all students live in our dormitory where they are provided a room. Students are intentionally placed in a room with a peer that will provide mutual support and emotional and physical safety. Once students have completed programmatic goals and have exhibited leadership in the community they are awarded the opportunity to transition into smaller “independent living” quarters. These living areas give the students a greater level of autonomy, as well as responsibility for the care and upkeep of their living space and personal punctuality. In each living space, students are expected to be awake on time, abide by our quiet hours, and complete daily chores, in addition to a more thorough deep clean twice a week. Unlike a different boys boarding school, we use these chores to emphasize the importance of responsibility.
For many of our students, how to make “downtime” at home productive was a major struggle. Thanks to our location of our boys boarding school on the border of DuPont State Forest and the greater Western North Carolina mountains, the students at The Academy at Trails Carolina have a plethora of adventurous activities to pursue and cultivate. At the Academy, students set “student life goals” that provides not only a goal to work towards achieving, but also identifies the steps that will make reaching that goal more achievable. Activities include, but are not limited to: rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle sports, hiking, trail running, weight training, fishing, tubing, soccer, football, basketball, woodworking, music recording and production, gardening and much more. Not only do our students experience the thrill of scaling boulders and mountain biking in what is often-considered the “Cycling Capital of the Southeast,” but they are also taught to become ambassadors of their new chosen interest, as well as stewards for the land on which they play. Students also like to use their time to conduct community service on campus and in neighboring towns. This allows them to take ownership in the beautification and upkeep of the campus, as well as in surrounding areas and with outside organizations.
After the day of learning, playing, and collaborating, students use their evenings to come together as a community to celebrate successes, address concerns within the community and enjoy some well-earned student directed leisure time. Students and staff share in regular community meetings where the students learn to share and receive feedback in a safe environment. These community driven meetings help promote the values in showing personal vulnerability, tactful communicative feedback with peers and staff alike, and upholding emotional safety. This is just one of the many things that makes us a top therapeutic boys boarding school.
At our boys boarding school, our community is also directed by a student elected, rotating council of peer leaders that use this common time to collect feedback from the community to work towards the improvement of the student experience at the Academy. It is the expressed goal of all staff at our therapeutic boys boarding school that the voice of the student plays a real and meaningful role in the growth of this powerful program. Upon completion of the day’s scheduled events, the student’s have the opportunity to engage in student directed leisure, which may include playing music, climbing on the community-built campus bouldering wall, exercising, playing games, and periodically an on-campus movie. Students also have the opportunity to earn the privilege to periodically go into town with staff to visit certain establishments, such as the YMCA and local climbing gyms.