OVS Outdoor Education is a truly unique program, teaching the basic skills of leadership, communication, and risk management. But above all, it teaches kids from a young age the importance of the environment and what it means to be good stewards of our planet.
— Jack Marcus, Dickinson College, L08, U12
Time in the wilderness generates important lessons. We experience the inherent value of places untrammeled by man, places of beauty that were the inspiration for mankind’s greatest achievements. We develop the confidence, coordination, strength, and perseverance that lead us to live rewarding and exceptional lives.
There are countless reasons to venture into the outdoors and they are encapsulated by the school motto, Integer Vitae. We take this to express the value in a whole, well-rounded, and diverse educational experience that would be incomplete without technology, history, sports, literature, art, foreign languages, science, music, mathematics, woodshop — and the outdoors.
Former art, history and Latin instructor Otis Wickenhaeuser described backpacking at Ojai Valley School in a way that we learn to appreciate: “Names. Campsites and campers. Endless legends. Places familiar. Places aspired to but never reached. Explain the reason for so much effort just to reach water and an ice-can stove: You shuck your pack; you feel weariness. You ‘make do’ and so escape the trivial and despoiled. You cope with essentials. You learn much.”
By hiking on local Ojai trails, mountain climbing 14,000-foot peaks in the Sierra Nevada, backpacking in the Sespe, Dick Smith, Matilija, and San Rafael Wildernesses, rock climbing in Joshua Tree and Yosemite National Parks, mountain biking in the Los Padres National Forest, and rafting on the Kern River, we build relationships, skills, and memories that will last a lifetime.