The process of nurturing balance and promoting a happy, healthy community of students and educators is ever evolving. The leadership of the School, the faculty members, and the students continuously engage in conversations about the many ways we can support one another and help students successfully and skillfully navigate any mental, physical, emotional, or academic hurdles in front of them.
Many of the initiatives and programs that promote healthy living at Thacher have long been integral elements of our community. Week-long backpacking trips in both the fall and spring offer the chance to completely unplug from technology and other daily stressors, learn skills that build confidence, strengthen relationships, and practice mindfulness during long days on the trail or lying under the stars at night. The arts and athletics—both required as part of a Thacher education—offer important outlets for busy minds and can promote mental and physical well-being. And our advising and prefect programs create a strong community of support around each and every student.
Today, there are also professional counselors who provide confidential services for students, weekly yoga and meditation sessions that are available to everyone in the community, and experiments with a weekly half-hour of “quiet time” during which students are encouraged to unplug from technology and participate in thoughtful activities hosted by yoga, meditation, spiritual, and other groups on campus. Freshmen are now putting away their cell phones throughout study hall in the evenings and can also request a free analog alarm clock if they want to try turning off their phone for the duration of the night. And each term, a “no homework” weekend is marked in the official schedule to allow for a time to truly rest, recharge, and reconnect during the busy school year.
To complement these efforts, a variety of healthy, clean food is served in the Dining Hall every day, including a substantial amount of local, organic produce sourced from farms in the Ojai Valley, organic milk and chicken, sustainably sourced seafood, and more.
Lastly, we continue to consult with and bring experts to campus to work with students and host conversations on topics such as managing and engaging with stress in a healthy, productive way; sexuality, consent, and healthy relationships; substance abuse; and other topics related to living a healthy and balanced life.