Merrowvista Community & School Programs
Year-round community building, leadership development, & environmental education
Merrowvista’s school and youth programs are intentionally designed to develop individual skills, enhance group effectiveness and positively influence school or organizational culture. Utilizing our core program curriculum, we are able to customize a multi-day program to meet the specific needs of your school or organization. Our staff facilitates fun and engaging experiential activities as metaphors for real world challenges. These experiences have a lasting, positive impact on children’s academic achievement and social skills as they return to their home and school communities.
The pristine Ossipee Mountains set the stage for young people to open their minds to new ways of seeing themselves and each other. Students create a community where respect, cooperation and kindness serve as a guide for all interactions. Merrowvista staff creates opportunities for children to practice our motto, “My own self, at my very best, all the time.” Students are encouraged to take on challenges and real responsibility as they live, play and learn together.
Our School & Youth Programs utilize Merrowvista’s forests, wetlands, mountains, and lakes, along with initiatives, ropes courses and climbing walls, to create safe and exciting opportunities for students to engage in their learning. Carefully guided discussions allow all types of learners to build relationships and make connections to concepts they can apply back in their home communities and schools. Curriculum topics include community building, environmental education, and character and leadership development.
“Merrowvista helped us stretch out of our comfort zone. We know now when to lead, when to follow. We know how to give back to our community, and how to give back to the environment. We know how to listen, and how to keep silence. We can now, at school, apply what we learned to help everyone grow.”
– Ellen, 6th Grade Student
Merrowvista Community & School Programs
These programs serve hundreds of youth, educators and youth advocates through programs designed to enhance not only a participant’s skills, but their confidence in themselves and their future.
Merrowvista programs help participants develop their character and their connections to the wider world. Our outstanding staff work to create communities where youth feel supported and empowered. Participants discover who they are and what they are capable of achieving.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Merrowvista, we value the need to address the social issues present in a child’s daily life in order to maximize academic and social learning. Research tells us that when a child feels social anxiety, the brain’s ability to absorb new information in limited. At Merrowvista, we create a learning environment and community where young people feel a sense of belonging, safety and trust. Programs include conversations and strategies to transfer these lessons back to their school and home communities.
Merrowvista is situated within a unique ecosystem. Its volcanic mountains and lake, forests, wetlands, streams and meadows provide a rich, bio-diverse environment for students to learn about the world around them. Concepts discussed in class take on new meaning through hands-on exploration. Shared experiences such as making it to the top of a mountain, collaborating to successfully build a raft, or celebrating a discovery at the beaver dam build connections that can reshape the way students work together back at school.
We offer 3-season heated duplex-style cabins, each with beds for up to 16 children and 3 adults. For larger groups or winter programs, we also offer a fully winterized lodge.
Our staff supervises children throughout all structured program activities. Teachers, administrators or chaperones serve as the primary guardians, and are responsible for free time and overnight supervision.
We are committed to a student to Merrowvista staff ratio no higher than 12:1.
Following our Food Program guiding principles, we aim to serve a variety of healthy options, including a balance of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables incorporated into a child-friendly menu.
We are able to accommodate certain allergies and dietary needs. Merrowvista is a peanut aware facility. We do not serve peanuts or tree nuts from our kitchen during meal service. In addition, we can provide vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options with advance notice. We may ask families to provide certain food items for children with complex allergies or dietary needs. We are committed to making a plan that works for everyone. Please contact us if you have questions about our offerings.
Our staff members are passionate about their work. Many of them have backgrounds in education, youth development and environmental education. They all hold first aid and CPR certifications, are at least 21 years old and have had background checks run against multiple national and local databases.
We hope Merrowvista feels special to every group we work with. Though there may be some small overlap between communities, we typically reserve our 600 acre site for one group at a time.
Weather in New Hampshire is quite variable from day to day and season to season. Appropriate clothing and gear will depend on the length of the program, time of year, and scheduled activities. Please refer to the relevant packing list in the ‘Resources’ section of this page for more specific information.
We enthusiastically welcome children with diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities. We value each participant’s right to fully experience Merrowvista free from prejudice and harassment. All of our staff members are trained to supervise children and to prevent and address incidents of conflict or bullying based on any aspect of a person’s identity, including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.
Our program staff members come from a variety of backgrounds in education, environmental sciences, and experiential education.
Many of them have grown up with the AYF, others developed their passion for working with young people in the outdoors through other like-minded organizations. But no matter where they started, they all share a commitment to inspiring young people to discover their very best, and look forward to working with your community.