Despite the unrelenting COVID pandemic, Belmont Hill is fortunately able to offer multiple student trips in March and June of 2022. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the safety of international travel, aside from the Kenney trip, Belmont Hill has decided to offer exclusively domestic trips in March. This does not mean that there are fewer opportunities for students to explore new places, as there are a plethora of available options.
The “beloved” community service trip is being offered once again this March; this year, the trip picks up where it left off in 2020, going to Chico, California. Chico has been devastated by a multitude of wildfires, and the boys on the trip will provide relief to residents of the city. The boys will “work hard, but have ample opportunities to enjoy California’s natural beauty.”
Additionally, Mr. Bracken and Ms. Otley proposed domestic trip ideas for March break. Ms. Otley, who is a veteran trip leader at Overland Summers, an organization that conducts student trips centered around nature, will run a hiking trip to the American southwest. Visiting Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon, the students will get a dose of hiking in some of the country’s most beautiful national parks. Mr. Bracken proposed a four-day trip to New York that would highlight American history and culture, and Ms. Zener notes that the itinerary was “masterfully designed.” Unfortunately, there was not enough interest, and this trip will have to wait until next year.
After Commencement in June, Belmont Hill will offer both the Kenney legacy trip to Europe as well as the Civil Rights and Leadership trip to the American south. The Kenney trip visits several World War II monuments, battlefields, and attractions in remembrance of Charlie Kenney ’06. Given that the trip only has six participants, the additional risks precipitated by international travel will be more manageable than the other trips. The Civil Rights trip will give four Form II students the opportunity to visit Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to study the history of the civil rights movement. Both of these trips are fully funded at no cost to students and are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the lucky eight selected to participate.
This year presented unprecedented challenges to travel, but in the wake of these difficulties, Belmont Hill has managed to provide trips to new destinations. While there will likely be mask restrictions for participants while indoors, and potentially some closures and roadblocks to certain sites, Belmont Hill’s global experiences program is essentially back to its former state.