Benefits of the CRMS Active Program
Around 8 p.m. on a Saturday, an unsuspecting Mexican restaurant in Montrose, Colorado, was swarmed with about 40 sweaty teenage rock climbers from Carbondale. The line of bright blue t-shirts went from the register, through the one room of the small building, and out the door into the freezing January night. After finishing tacos and jarritos, we loaded up onto the big white buses and sang the whole way back to the Roaring Fork Valley. And when we got home that night, it didn’t matter that we had won the climbing competition we had set out for that morning, because the truth is that the competition was only one small piece of that day. While our stats and rankings will all blur together throughout the season and the years, we will never forget packing Don Gilberto’s wall to wall and eating chips and salsa with chalk-covered, calloused hands.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School is well known for our Active programs, which range from kayaking, yoga, and cross country to mountain biking and soccer to skiing and climbing. We believe that immersing students in physical activity helps to instill values that come to fruition in all aspects of our community, from the classroom to dorm life. Pushing yourself past the brink of exhaustion and sanity to finish out a cross country or bike race translates into academic rigor and tenacity as much as belaying your friend on their project or cheering on a teammate coincides with being a good roommate and student.
The web of people, skills, and knowledge at CRMS is formed by more than teachers’ instruction or the dorm parents’ attention and care. Much of what builds our tangible connection and closeness is the time we spend physically pushing ourselves to our limits, and those moments we spend together in between. Not only when our calves burn as we sling through a muddy mountain biking track with our heart rate through the roof and our bodies leaning forward to go even faster, but also the bus on the way home when we scoot closer to share headphones or sprawl Calculus notes across three bus seats and put our brains together by a bouncing cell phone light.
The Active program that we all know and love is a place to leave everything on the table. A place to practice both vulnerability and strength. A place to learn how to make different paddling strokes and feel the Colorado sun on your shoulders or make beautiful runs down fresh powder. It’s difficult to think of another place where you can share breakfast, learn cell anatomy, and dangle from a rope off a sandstone cliff with your fellow students all in the same day. The success we see as a program is not attributed to the hours we put in at the gym or on the slopes. It’s from the endless passion and curiosity that our students bring every single day when they show up to practice after music class or on a weekend morning when they load up on a bus, half asleep and bagel in hand, as we pull out once again into the world.