Learning is not Attained by Chance


Outdoor Education

Lessons taught in the classroom are complemented by learning in the field, via our comprehensive outdoor curriculum of whitewater paddling, climbing, hiking, skiing, service learning, and international travel. Field lessons provide a structured, safe environment for students to take risks, face and overcome challenges, and build confidence and leadership skills that will serve them their whole lives.

Weekly Field Lessons

french broad river academy outdoor program
french broad river academy outdoor program

One full school day each week, our students leave the classroom behind for exploration of our beautiful mountains and rivers. Spring and fall field lessons bring tandem-canoeing expeditions, while winter field lessons are spent honing downhill skiing skills. Throughout the year, groups also go climbing and bouldering, as well as engaging in service learning and field science work.

Induction Week

Each school year begins with "Induction Week," a four-night/five-day experience at Camp Mondamin for Boys and at Camp Green Cove for Girls. The week is spent forming relationships with classmates and teachers, building foundational whitewater canoeing skills, getting accustomed to FBRA culture and habits, and just having a ton of fun! Induction Week sets students up for success in our outdoor program, in homeroom and advisory groups, and in their relationships in the classroom with their teachers.

french broad river academy outdoor program
french broad river academy outdoor program

Overnight Trips

Multiple overnight trips throughout the year afford students the opportunity to learn basic camping skills and “Leave No Trace” principles. They also extend their outdoor technical skills on new rivers and rock faces that can't be reached on a day trip. Shared experiences like this also build strong bonds among teachers and students, which serve as the foundation for our relationship-based learning community.

Overnight trips, in tandem with our three-year Spanish language program, help prepare all of our students to travel to Costa Rica each spring. All students participate in an annual cultural immersion experience that is increasingly challenging as students rise from grade to grade. Each trip incorporates cultural and language immersion through home stays with Costa Rican families, while also weaving in outdoor experiences and service learning.

Service Learning

Service to others is at the core of the FBRA mission and vision. Whether it is spending a week in rural Costa Rica working in a farming community, performing stream restoration work with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, or packing food at Manna Food Bank, FBRA students experience a wide range of exposure to local and international issues. FBRA students have a clear and concrete sense of what it means to contribute to the betterment of society.

french broad river academy outdoor programs
french broad river academy outdoor programs

Why Tandem Canoeing?

“I still believe that tandem canoeing is a great way to build social skills in middle school students. Canoeing with a partner not only develops whitewater paddling skills and teamwork, but it also strengthens self-confidence as the students progress down rapids and are forced to make quick decisions with instant feedback from the river. Tandem canoeing also forces socialization and communication at a level that few other outdoor pursuits do.”

–David Byers, FBRA Co-Founder

The French Broad River Academy operates in the Pisgah, Nantahala, Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests with a special use permit. The USDA prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202)720-5964. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.