TOP Summer Leadership Program

Each summer, the Thetford Outdoor Program offers several opportunities for Thetford Academy students to have immersive outdoor leadership experiences and adventures. TOP Summer Leadership programs are announced each winter and open to all TA students in grades 7-12, and to students from our sending schools in the Upper Valley.

TOP Summer Leadership opportunities include canoeing on the Connecticut River, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, Garden Camp for middle school students, GLOW (for students who identify as girls, young ladies, or women always or sometimes) outdoor adventures, and, right here on campus, a student trail crew that works each year to help develop and maintain Thetford Academy’s extensive trail systems. For Summer 2023, we are excited to announce our newest program, Vermont Adventure.

Trail Crew

Full for Summer 2022

This week-long work experience engages students in all aspects of trail maintenance and development. Students will work building and improving trail networks in the Thetford Hill State Forest, Upper Valley Land Trust property, and on TA’s vast, 295-acre forested campus.

Students build bog bridges, install signs, maintain, improve, and develop current trails–including TA’s new mountain bike trail. The crew meets Monday- Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with four days of work and one-day team activity or hike. Students are compensated $100 for the week.

Connecticut River Canoe Trip

Full for Summer 2022

Students explore the Connecticut River on a week-long canoe trip. The group will start its adventure in Wells River, VT, and paddle down to White River Junction.  Along the way, students will camp at primitive campsites, develop paddling and leadership skills, and learn about the natural world along the Connecticut River paddling trail.

Group equipment including tents, dry bags, canoes, paddles, life jackets, and food are included and personal equipment can be loaned upon request. A complete packing list is provided to all participants and equipment is checked prior to departure.

There is a $350 fee for this program to cover food, permits, staffing, and equipment costs.

Advanced Canoe Trip

Full for Summer 2022

This summer TOP will be embarking on an advanced canoe trip to La Verendrye Park in Quebec, Canada, which offers an extensive system of lakes for canoe camping. This trip is for students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and camping skills on past TOP summer trips. Participants will experience true wilderness while paddling long distances, portaging between vast waterways, and camping in primitive campsites. 

Group equipment including tents, dry bags, canoes, paddles, life jackets, and food are included and personal equipment can be loaned upon request. A complete packing list is provided to all participants and equipment is checked prior to departure.

There is a $1200 fee for this program to cover food, permits, staffing, and equipment costs. Students must receive approval to enroll in this advanced course

Backpacking and Canoe Trip for GLOW (Girls, Ladies or Whoever)

June 27 – July 1, 2022

This trip is for all students who identify as girls, young ladies, or women always or sometimes. Over five days, students will explore the Appalachian Trail on an overnight backpacking trip and then travel to the Connecticut River for two nights of canoe camping. On this trip, students will camp at primitive campsites, develop leadership skills, explore the role of gender in the outdoors and learn about the natural world while exploring the forest and river ecosystems. 

Group equipment including tents, dry bags, canoes, paddles, life jackets, backpacks, and food are included and personal equipment can be loaned upon request. A complete packing list will be provided to all participants and the equipment will be checked prior to departure.

There is a $350 fee for this program to cover food, staffing and equipment costs.

Rock Climbing

Full for Summer 2022

Students will travel to Rumney, New Hampshire where they will spend the week exploring world-famous sport climbing crags. This is a perfect trip for new and experienced climbers alike. Students will be able to learn the basics and challenge themselves on classic New England routes. On this trip, students will base camp alongside the Baker River, develop leadership skills, and improve their rock climbing skills, while exploring a forest ecosystem. 

Group equipment including tents, harnesses, rock climbing shoes, helmets, and food are included and personal equipment can be loaned upon request. A complete packing list will be provided to all participants and the equipment will be checked prior to departure.

There is a $350 fee for this program to cover food, staffing, and equipment costs.

Garden Camp for Middle School

August 1-5, 2022

Students will enjoy the great outdoors by way of Thetford Academy’s School Garden and the greater Upper Valley. Each day, students will spend the morning tending to our garden. This includes planting, watering, weeding, harvesting vegetables, picking flowers, herbs, and more! After lunch, students will embark on excursions to nearby farms and gardens. Activities could be anything from ‘gleaning’ produce on a farm for local food shelves to picking fruit and making our own jam! Throughout camp, students will learn to make tasty snacks with garden-fresh produce to share with their friends and family!

Open to students entering 7th-9th grades, from Thetford Academy and TA sending schools. There is a $200 fee for this program to cover materials and staffing costs. 

TOP Student Interns

Each summer, TOP hires student interns to help support our summer programs. In 2022, we will be hiring an intern for Trail Crew, the Connecticut River Canoe Trip, the Backpacking/Canoeing for GLOW, and 2 interns for Garden Camp. Students who are currently in 9th-12th grade are eligible to apply.

This is a great leadership opportunity for students who enjoy TOP programs and are ready to take on more of a direct leadership role. Interns are expected to help support the leaders in all aspects of the programs and will have an opportunity to define their own leadership goals that they will work on with support from the TOP leaders.

Upcoming Events

December 2022

Thursday December 8

6:30 pm – 7:45 pm
Winter Concert

Friday December 9

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Varsity Boys Basketball Scrimmage vs TSA
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Holiday Dance (MS & HS)

Tuesday December 13

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
JV Girls Basketball @ White River Valley
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
V Girls Basketball @ White River Valley

Wednesday December 14

8:00 am – 12:00 pm
A Taste of TA-First Branch 8th Grade (tentative)
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
JV Boys Basketball @ Oxbow
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
V Boys Basketball @ Oxbow

our VALUES

Excellence

We set high expectations. we challenge all members of the school community to reach their highest potential.

Commitment

We value initiative, courage and dedication. We take personal responsibility for the goals we set and work hard to achieve them.

Cooperation

We work and learn together. We see teachers as coaches, students as team members, families as partners, and learning as practice and action.

Caring

We provide individuals with personalized support and guidance. We care about each other and the larger community.

Diversity

We respect differences among people. We welcome the contribution of varied perspectives to a rich and flexible school culture.