This month, Fountain Valley School completed its 27th year of the highly anticipated Western Immersion Program (WIP). Affirming the FVS principle that learning should not be contained within the four walls of a classroom, WIP offers a unique educational experience wherein students explore the profound connection between the land and its people.
At the core of WIP lies the School’s Class of ’69 Mountain Campus, located at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks in Nathrop, Colo. This breathtaking mountain terrain provides an extraordinary setting for students to delve deep into exploration of the intricate relationship between nature, history, art, and literature. The program–conceived by former FVS Science Faculty Rob Gustke–is structured around three full-day academic blocks, each utilizing the stunning outdoor classroom offered by the Mountain Campus and its surrounding landscape, and includes:
Gustke’s vision for WIP, which seeks to create a "poetry of place" and encourages students to interpret their surroundings through various lenses, was inspired by the works of celebrated American West writer Wallace Stegner, who emphasized the transformative power of the land. Throughout the program, students maintain field journals to creatively interact with their surroundings and document their experiences, creating lasting memories and an enduring appreciation for the great outdoors.
Evenings at WIP are marked by special presentations and gatherings around a campfire with s’mores. While gazing at the endless sea of stars, students were challenged to think introspectively about this year’s WIP theme, “Commitments,” which asked, “What commitments are you willing to make to yourself, others, and the earth?”
“I think my biggest takeaway was committing myself to building connections with new and returning classmates,” said FVS Sophomore Stella R. “Over WIP, I got to know people who I never would have overlapped with regularly. It is trips like these that make Fountain Valley such a tightly-knit community. I think our commitment, not only each other, but to our campus and surroundings is what makes this School so unique,” she added.
After the challenges posed by the pandemic, WIP takes on a renewed significance, offering a chance to slow down and build upon the close relationships that define the FVS experience. As Wallace Stegner once stated, "If there is such a thing as being conditioned by climate and geography, it is the West that has conditioned me."
Founded in 1930, Fountain Valley School of Colorado is a boarding and day school for grades 9-12. Situated on 1,100 acres of rolling prairie in Colorado Springs, the School provides a rigorous, global curriculum in academics, arts, athletics and the outdoors to develop young adults who are courageous, open-minded, self-reliant, curious and compassionate. Enrollment is approximately 240 students from 23 countries, 21 states and the Pikes Peak Region. www.fvs.edu
The 2023 All Services Military Retiree/Spouse Appreciation Day is Sept. 23 from 7:30 a.m.-noon at the Peterson Space Force Base Hub. With about 45,000 military retirees and their spouses residing in the area, the event provides important updates and services to the attendees.
There will be guest speakers and information tables throughout the morning. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. with a light breakfast served, and opening remarks at 8 a.m. Guest speakers include the Pikes Peak National Cemetery (8:30 a.m.), TRICARE (9:15 a.m.), Veterans Affairs (10 a.m.), BENEFEDS (10:45 a.m.), and Mount Carmel Veterans Center (11:30 a.m.).
The COVID booster will be available, and wellness checks by the 21st Medical Group including optometry, mental health, blood pressure screenings and more. A blood drive by Vitalant will also take place in the parking lot.
The Hub is located at 260 Glasgow Ave., Building 1013. The Peterson West Gate is closed and attendees should use the North or East gates. For more information, e-mail RAO@gmail.com">PSFBRAO@gmail.com or call 719-556-7153.