Experiential Education

Experiential Education 101… and Panacea Adventures!

All of us are experiential learners. That is, we learn by doing. How many times have you heard someone tell you that practice makes perfect?

The idea is that you develop skills and abilities not just by reading about them, but by putting them into action, over and over, again and again.

Likewise, many of us say that we learn through trial and error, and we encourage our kids to learn from their mistakes.

The thinking behind all of these axioms is that our intellect, our character, and our ability are all shaped through experience.

So when someone talks about Experiential Education, they are not talking about something that is new or unusual.

Mountain to Sea


They are talking about the time-tested and innately human notion that learning happens through experience, through activity, and through adventure!

That’s the philosophy that drives the entire Experiential Education field, and it’s at the heart of what Panacea Adventures is all about.  Panacea offers a variety of programs, some of which you might call Adventure Education, or simply Outdoor Education.

All of them encourage learning by doing, and they offer so much fun, so many incredible experiences and memories, that the kids who take part in our programs may not even realize, at the time, that they’re learning so much!

Our Youth Leading the Way program, for example, is a multi-day wilderness learning expedition that includes plenty of backpacking as well as rock climbing and river rafting; the emphasis is on setting goals, learning teamwork, and developing the skills of communication and leadership.

Participants will enjoy group discussions about the goal’s they have set and the challenges they face, really hammering these personal development traits home without ever scrimping on the fun.


Even the Mountain to Sea program is about the learning process. Like Youth Leading the Way, this Panacea program involves plenty of fun in the outdoors. Youth who come will surely have the best summer of their lives!

Unlike Youth Leading the Way, Mountain to Sea does not have the group discussions and structured team goals—and yet, these things can’t help but naturally arise! For the Mountain to Sea Program, we recommend you get your hands on some good road bikes. BGG has a list of best road bikes and best mountain bikes under $1000 to help you get started.

When you’re out in the backwoods, enjoying the outdoor adventure of your life, issues of teamwork, responsibility, decision-making, and communication are bound to come up again and again.

The Experiential Education philosophy permeates Panacea’s less adventure-oriented programs, as well, including Education Without Walls. This program mixes classroom learning with backwoods experiences and hands-on, outdoor activities.

It’s all in service of for-credit programs in such topics as Geology, Native American Studies, even Social Justice. It’s a different way for kids to learn, and it’s an effective one, too—because it’s all aboutlearning by doing.

And that’s the great thing about Experiential Education. It combines the best of both worlds—classroom values and life-skill development on the one hand, and an amazing, absolute blast of a good time on the other.

It’s a great way to enjoy some of the most memorable and exciting experiences of your life, and grow as a person at the same time. That’s what Experiential Education—and Panacea Adventures—is all about.

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