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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.

GET INVOLVED!

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.

Jim Norton
Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program Director
jnorton@berkshireschool.org

FALL

FALL WATCH
The classic RKMP offering that provides a chance for those who are looking to experience life in the outdoors for the first time, and for those who know they love the woods and waters and who want to spend more time out in them. RKMP participants will hike, bike, canoe, climb, and fish, as well as learn trail building, basic wilderness first aid, outdoor cooking, survival skills, map reading, and trip planning. Participants will also acquire leadership skills as they plan and lead their own trips and help share the outdoors with others.

MOUNTAIN BIKE TEAM
It is as simple as it sounds: you’ll ride a mountain bike every day that we are able to do it, and train indoors when we can’t. Trails all over this area will hone your technical skills and build your endurance. You will also learn aspects of bike maintenance and safety. Then, we’ll go to races where bears on bikes will tear up the trails.

The RKMP has a number of mountain bikes ready for riding and competition, so you do not need to own your own bike to join the team. You should know how to ride one, though.

*Off-campus excursions are typically offered in the fall and spring.

WINTER

NORDIC SKI TEAM
After a very successful winter season last year, Nordic Skiing is ready to get after it again. The RKMP can outfit you with everything you will need to speed through the snow.

WOODWORKING
For many years, boat building was a staple of the RKMP line-up. While work on a wooden boat will be an option, we have decided to inaugurate our shop with an offering in which you can learn the basic skills of woodworking with both hand and power tools, choose your own projects, and get guidance on completing them. This program will also work hand-in-hand with Art Option and give participants a chance to learn a variety of skills.

SPRING

SPRING WATCH
RKMP participants will hike, bike, canoe, climb, and fish, as well as learn trail building, basic wilderness first aid, outdoor cooking, survival skills, map reading, and trip planning. Participants will also acquire leadership skills as they plan and lead their own trips and help share the outdoors with others.

ROCK CLIMBING TEAM
We will start the season pulling plastic at our own rock wall in the Soffer Athletic Center, and when the weather begins to warm up and the cliffs and crags of the Berkshires dry off, we will head outside to put that gym work to the test. Also, there will be a chance to test yourself against other young climbers at competitions throughout the season.

The RKMP can provide you with all of the equipment that you will need, so you don’t have to have your own gear - or any prior experience.

*Off-campus excursions are typically offered in the fall and spring.

RITT KELLOGG MOUNTAIN CENTER

 

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.

LEADERSHIP AWARD

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.

Brooks Hamilton '16 received Berkshire's Leadership Award and attended the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in 2015.

 

RKMP Logo

 

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.