Click a challenge below to browse the videos and blog posts associated with it. Don’t miss the weekly highlight reels.

Week One

COUNTER-ARGUMENT: Take a controversial subject that you agree with, research the opposing side, and attempt to discredit your original beliefs.

UNSEEN: Get from one side of town to the other without being seen.

DANCING: Research and teach yourself a choreographed group dance and then perform it for the rest of the group.

BIRDHOUSES: Build a functional birdhouse out of junk material.

DINNER WITH LOCAL FOODS: Prepare dinner for the rest of the group using some amount of foods harvested from local farms. (Meal groups do not publish videos or blog posts.)

Week Two

MAP MAKING: Explore the local town of Paonia, interview residents and tourists, and create a themed map (e.g. a dog owner’s guide to Paonia) that will be printed and distributed for free at a local festival this weekend.

RADICAL ACTS OF KINDNESS: Perform multiple radical acts of kindness for strangers in Paonia: some anonymous, some not.

MEDITATION: Wake up before dawn, hike together to a local hill in the woods, choose your own spot, and sit for 5 hours closely watching your thoughts.

MAKEOVER: Consider how you present yourself to the world, both in your dress/appearance and personality, and attempt a complete makeover of both for the day.

DINNER WITH LOCAL CHICKEN: Participate in the butchering of a rooster and integrate it into a dinner that you prepare for the entire group. (Meal groups do not publish videos or blog posts.)

Week Three

2-day staff-led challenges:

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING: Wake early to climb Mount Lamborn (11,000′) on day one; practice trail running in the Gunnison Gorge and first aid on day two.

MURALING: Compose an original mural inside one of the bunkhouses.

48-HOUR THEATRE: Perform a play for a dinner audience.

MINIMALIST CAMPING: Sleep overnight in the woods with only 5 items per person.

2-day group-designed challenges:

SCREEN PRINTING: Design and print the official Adventure Semester t-shirts for the whole group.

COUCH RESCUE: Reupholster a free couch that we can use in the program.

PLANNING A PROM: Put on a big dance for the entire group.

HORROR FILM: Create a short horror movie that actually scares people.

FOOD (bonus video!)

Week Four

WORKOUT VIDEO: Put together a comprehensive workout video using minimal equipment that you can do almost anywhere.

WEB DESIGN: Choose a domain, install WordPress, and create a basic, professional-looking website to represent yourself to the world.

TEACHING STYLES: Practice teaching a basic skill to other people with restricted vision, hearing, and mobility.

SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Ask a question that can be researched and answered scientifically in one day, and write it up as a paper.

FOOD: Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire Adventure Semester. (Meal groups do not publish videos or blog posts.)

Week Five

In the first two days of week five, each participant did an individual self-design challenge and documented it with a blog post. Find the blog post by doing this Google search and adding the participant’s first name.

The rest of week five involved moving to Crested Butte, and no blog posts or videos were produced.

Week Six

COLLEGE!: Spend the day at Western State Colorado University talking to students and professors, sitting in on classes, making use of the library, and talking to admissions.

ENTREPRENEURISM: With $20 seed funding, see how much money you can generate in one day using only your group’s skills and wits.

BUILD A FIRE: Start a fire over which you’ll cook lunch without using a lighter, match, or flint and steel.

LISTENING: Practice the skills of deep listening by engaging strangers in the street over controversial issues.

FOOD: Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire Adventure Semester with the extra twist of finding local chefs who will share their favorite recipes, which you then prepare as part of dinner. (Meal groups do not publish videos or blog posts.)

Week Seven

This week we has four challenge groups, not five.

PERSEVERANCE: Choose a repetitive physical skill and practice it for 6 hours, pushing through your resistance to the activity.

EMAILS: Learn how to (1) write a well-crafted request for a letter of recommendation and (2) email an interesting stranger in Denver and ask to meet them, and then actually send them.

INTENSIVE FEEDBACK: Practice giving and receiving direct constructive feedback to other group members.

FOOD: Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire Adventure Semester with a specific theme for each dinner. Groups chose to focus on: Thai, ultra-nutrient dense, Vietnamese, and burgers.

Week Eight

2-day staff-led challenges:

SWING DANCING: Learn a choreographed swing dance routine and perform for the group. Blog Post | Video

D.I.Y. ROAD TRIP: Design a 2-day road trip in Colorado using only recommendations from locals you meet along the way (not guidebooks or Internet). Blog Post | Video

ART OF LETTING GO: Create meaningful art and then burn it. Blog Post | Video

ENGINEERING: Move a 5000-lb boulder six feet. (Bonus challenge: build a potato launcher!) Blog Post | Video

ONE PAPERCLIP: Start with one paperclip and trade it up (like this guy did) to the greatest possible value. Blog Post | Video

FOOD: Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire Adventure Semester. Research where the food comes from and where it goes, and then write blog posts about your relationship to your food. (Pop | Catherine)

2-day group-designed challenges:

YEARBOOK CLUB: Create the Adventure Semester yearbook. Blog Post | Video

LOCKED IN: Stay in a small room for 32 hours and connect with other group members. Blog Post | Video

PIGLIMIRAGE: A mysterious art- and poetry-oriented road trip. Blog Post | Video

MOVIE REVIEW: Watch and review a weird, maligned movie (Eraserhead). Blog Post Missing | Video | Review

FOOD: Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire Adventure Semester. Each dinner was given an Iron-chef style challenge ingredient. (It was squash.)

Week Nine

In the first two days of week nine, each participant did an individual self-design challenge and documented it with a blog post. Find the blog post by doing this Google search and adding the participant’s first name.

In the following part of week nine, we had a snow day, a workshop day, and a day in which the participants designed challenges for the staff. Here’s a blog post about and four participant-created videos (1 | 2 | 3 | 4) from that day.

Week Ten

Every participant faced the same set of challenges in the first three days of week ten: a Denver “Create a Life” Scavenger Hunt. Two of the groups published videos (1 | 2) and blog posts (1 | 2).

On Thursday, staff assigned specific final one-day challenges to pairs of participants. Blog posts include:

Learning Languages – W10D4 by Seraya

Busking – W10D4 by Joey

Gaming – W10D4 by Ben

Staff Makeover – W10D4 by Katie M.

Complaint Booth – W10D4 by Jill

Comedy on the Street – W10D4 by Spencer

HONY in Boulder – W10D4 by Katie B.

Government – W10D4 by Mac C.

Friday was reserved for closing activities.