Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program
Berkshire School boasts an asset no other college preparatory school can claim: Mount Everett, the second highest mountain in Massachusetts. Berkshire celebrates the mountain it lies beneath with the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program (RKMP), named after a 1985 alumnus who died in 1992 while climbing Mount Foraker in Alaska. The RKMP encourages students to interact with natural resources and fosters an interdependency between the campus and its natural surroundings. More specifically, the RKMP uses Berkshire’s natural resources to promote academic growth, to challenge athletically, to teach leadership, to develop character and to foster environmental responsibility.
RKMP faculty offer afternoon alternatives to traditional team pursuits, as well as a Beyond the Mountain program through which they guide students on domestic and international wilderness trips. The program also promotes a healthy group dynamic among sports teams who use the low and high initiatives of the school ropes course. The RKMP provides both leadership and financial support in the campus-wide commitment to environmental stewardship. Through these many activities, students gain greater insight into themselves and the world around them, and learn to develop as individuals within the natural environment.
The Ritt Kellogg Mountain Center, dedicated in the fall of 2017 in honor of Ritt Kellogg '85, serves as the home for the RKMP, and serves as a space for pre-trip meetings and gatherings, and a storage space for RKMP equipment, including mountain bikes, backpacking and climbing gear, and much more.
Passing The Test
Each year, two students are awarded the Leadership Award at Berkshire. The award recognizes students who have shown genuine leadership potential and provides scholarships for them to attend the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine. The School offers a rigorous hands-on learning model through outdoor adventure including sailing, sea kayaking, and rock climbing programs.
There were a few things that helped me discover my passions at Berkshire. The first of which was when I joined the RKMP program during the spring and my eyes were opened to the beauty and life waiting just beyond Berkshire's academic buildings on the Mountain.brooks hamilton '16
2015 leadership award recipient
Students may participate in RKMP programs in lieu of a competitive sport. Programs run for approximately eight weeks, or the duration of each athletic season. Generally, a student need not have any wilderness experience to go on a trip, and most of the needed equipment is provided by the RKMP. The trips vary according to the interests of the student body. Ultimately, this program gives students memorable experiences by exposing them to uncertain outcomes and acceptable risks through the exploration of exciting, yet unfamiliar cultures and environments.
ABOUT RITT KELLOGG '85
"Ritt Kellogg didn't just live life — he devoured it," says Steve Kaczmarek '85, a friend and classmate of Ritt's at both Berkshire and Colorado College. "For him, life was a spectacular journey, never a destination."
Above all, Ritt Kellogg loved the outdoors. His affection for the Berkshire campus and the mountain that surrounds it, inspires everyone at Berkshire School to study, respect and preserve our natural environment.
In 1994, Ritt's friends and the Kellogg family celebrated his life with an endowment to establish the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program.