For the second year, Colorado Academy could not offer its full weeklong Interim experiences for students because of pandemic restrictions. But at CA, never say “never.” Director of Experiential Education Forbes Cone invented the “Mini-Interim,” and Seniors who wanted to have an outdoor experience had many options.
“Our rationale was that, even though we couldn’t do the traditional Interim, we wanted to provide a culminating experience,” says Cone. “It was a way to provide some sense of normalcy and joy at the end of a challenging year.”
Seniors had several options: Rock Climbing, Fly Fishing, Hiking, and Volleyball in the Park.
“In the case of volleyball, yes that was the activity. But that wasn’t the most important thing for students,” says Cone. “What they really enjoyed was just being able to connect with classmates, hang out, and spend time together.”
For one Senior, the Mini-Interim provided the unusual chance for a do-over. Here is Annabelle Swenson’s account of her experience going rock climbing at a familiar location.
From Interim to Mini-Interim: ‘I am definitely stronger now’
“I’m not a climber, and that’s exactly why I wanted to do this. I took an Interim my Freshman year called “Rock On,” and I really liked getting outside and challenging myself. So that’s why I wanted to do this Mini-Interim. I’ve been in a climbing gym, but I had never climbed rocks. I didn’t think I could do it myself, so I wanted to make sure I had someone help me.
“The mini-Interim took me back to the same place we went for Interim my Freshman year—North Table Mountain Park in Jefferson County. Our guides set up four routes to get to the top. My Freshman year, I never made it to the top. I think my Freshman year I was not very strong, but I am definitely stronger now.
“I made it to the top of all four routes! It was not easy, so I had to try a few times and take a few pointers from the instructors. But I was able to pull myself up. The last route was the most difficult, and when I made it to the top and came down, I was super excited. It was muddy, and I was slipping and laughing—just the way Interim is supposed to be. I didn’t know that people who aren’t really good at climbing could go and climb real rocks!
“One of the instructors told me that I should climb more often because I am good at it. I felt like I had completed a full circle—from Freshman year, when I couldn’t do it, until now, just before I graduate, when I could do it.
“The Mini-Interims were definitely better than no Interims. It gave us a chance to be on a trip with people I had not seen that much this year, and it was nice to be able to talk with them. It was actually kind of fun because, instead of committing to just doing one thing like we do with Interims, you could try different things. Everyone who went was excited because we were still able to do something together. We could still get those CA opportunities.”