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Bitney Prep students enjoy ‘Wilderness Week’ in Bear Valley

Submitted to The Union
Bitney Prep High School students play tug of war during Wilderness Week at Donner Mine Camp in Bear Valley.
Submitted to The Union

Every year, students from Bitney Prep High School participate in Wilderness Week, an opportunity for the entire school to get out of the classroom, build community and have fun. This year, students, staff, and parent volunteers spent three days and two nights at Donner Mine Camp in Bear Valley engaged in learning and team-building activities, sports (including rock climbing and hiking), a talent show and more.

“The benefits of Wilderness Week are immeasurable,” said Jonathan Molinar, director of Bitney Prep. “Students have the opportunity to really get to know each other across grade levels. They get to know the staff that much more and they really come together as a community.”

“Having kids get unplugged from their devices and engaged in the world around them is wonderful to see,” echoed Bitney Prep teacher Daniel Elkin. “Sometimes it seems like they are looking at things for the first time, including their classmates.”

Wilderness Week as a natural extension of the schools individualized learning focus, said Molnar, as well as an opportunity for each student’s voice to be heard.

Bitney Prep is a small charter high school located in the Brunswick Basin area of Grass Valley. Originally chartered over 20 years, Bitney started out as a college prep academy, but has shifted focus in the last five years as part of the Big Picture Learning Network.

Bitney’s 90 or so students each spend all day, every Wednesday, at an internship of their choice. Through this program, they learn from business professionals, which aids in their discovery of the right career. Interns can be found in veterinarian hospitals, radio stations, artist studios, newspapers, automotive repair shops, elementary schools and other small businesses.

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