Greensboro Day School is pleased to announce the establishment of the Neptune Outdoor Experiential Learning Endowment to fund the Junior Backpacking Trip and other outdoor experiential learning at the School.
With a gift from Merrill and Chuck Keeley ’81 and their family, this endowment will allow Greensboro Day School to continue providing dynamic outdoor learning experiences for current and future students.
The Keeley’s have many fond memories of their time at GDS -- as a student for Chuck, Class of 1981 -- and as parents, nothing made more of an impact on their family than the Junior Backpacking Trip (JBT). Though the JBT was not in place in 1980 when Chuck was a junior at GDS, he has had the opportunity to go on the trip 3 times, with each of his sons, Charlie ’11, Fletcher ’12, and Jake ’16.
The Keeley’s three sons shared the importance of the Junior Backpacking experience in their lives.
“Out of all the positive experiences I had while at GDS, the JBT was by far the most impactful. Kudos to my parents for ensuring this program continues in perpetuity after seeing the effect it had on my two brothers and me.” Charlie Keeley ’11
“For me, the JBT was an opportunity to create strong connections and build friendships outside of my normal group at GDS. The shared experience of hiking in Pisgah National Forest, getting drenched in rainstorms and being outside of our comfort zones helped break barriers and create connections amongst everyone on the trip. These shared experiences and new connections brought our grade closer and helped build the closeness and shared support we would all need to brave the exciting and challenging decisions our senior year.” Fletcher Keeley ’12
“The best thing about the JBT, for me, was the ability to connect with other students that I would have never talked to at GDS. I made new friends and reconnected with people that I had known since I was five. I think that backpacking is the perfect setting to get to know people and to learn how to function in a group without distractions.” Jake Keeley ’16
The Junior Backpacking Trip is an annual week-long learning experience that takes place for students at the end of their junior year. Students are divided into small groups and spend time hiking, camping and exploring Pisgah National Forest. This program began in 1982 by former Headmaster, Dr. Jim Hendrix. Other outdoor learning at Greensboro Day School includes time spent in the two campus gardens, pond, overnight camping trips to area farms, and more.