Paideia

For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any topic they love, academic or otherwise. This week is known as Paideia after the Greek term signifying “education” – the complete education of mind, body and spirit. What would you teach that would contribute to the Reed community? (200 words minimum, 500 words maximum)


I am a wilderness survivalist. Over the years, I have found myself thriving in conditions ranging from torrential rain in the Valley of the Kings to white-out conditions on top of Mount Lassen. Some would call these situations miserable, but to me they are just another challenge to tackle. When I am at my best, I am outdoors in a high-stress situation. This could be a life-threatening injury, or a sudden storm, or even both. While the skills necessary to tackle these situations were acquired along my scouting trail, scouting is about more than just learning these skills. It is also about teaching them.

My Paideia would be a class on how to properly prepare for and thrive on an excursion out into the wilderness. The first step to any successful outing is planning. If I were to take a class out to New Mexico for a backcountry backpacking trip, ny fellow students would need to absorb quite a few skills ahead of time. A good place to start is how to set up a rain fly, in under a minute. In New Mexico, the weather is unpredictable; it can switch from a light mist to a heavy downpour very fast. Beyond physical skills, a lot of itinerary planning has to be completed. Two summers ago, I led a trip to Hawaii for a crew of twenty people....

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