VVS Wilderness First Aid Course

Verde Valley School is offering a Wilderness Medical Institute Wilderness First Aid Certification Course August 10-11th.

DATES: August 10-11, 2019

COST: $265 WFA

LOCATION: 3511 Verde Valley School Road, Sedona, AZ. 86351

Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, “What do I do now?” Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine.

If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at camps or lead wilderness trips, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreate outdoors, this course is for you.

You’ll learn the Patient Assessment System, how to provide effective first aid treatments for injuries and illnesses common in the outdoors, how to manage environmental emergencies, and how to make appropriate evacuation decisions. You will spend half your time practicing skills and participating in realistic scenarios.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine course is approved by such organizations as the American Camp Association, the United States Coast Guard, and other state as well as federal agencies.

Upon successful course completion, you will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: Wilderness First Aid, and Epinephrine Auto-injector.

More information on this course can be found here:

Click here to register for this course!

Please reach out to John Kelley with any questions at johnk@vvsaz.org

Dream Run 2019 – New date March 2nd

Join us for the third annual Dream Run, a non-competitive, 5K and 10k fun run open to runners of all levels. Those who simply wish to walk and admire the iconic Cathedral Rock views, and pets on a leash, are also welcome.

The 2019 VVS Dream Run will begin and end on the school campus, taking runners through the stunning red rock scenery of Coconino National Forest that surrounds the campus towards the richly diverse Oak Creek riparian zone and back again.

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Dream Run Sponsorship

Please fill out the form below to sponsor our Verde Valley School Dream Run event! With just a $250 (or more, if you wish) sponsorship you will be featured on the back of our iconic Dream Run t-shirts and recognition in our marketing! Thank you for your support of our Native American Scholarship Fund.

After completing the Sponsorship Information form please return to this page to complete payment transaction through the PayPal Button below!

Click Here to Complete Sponsorship Information

2018 Dream Run

Join us for the second annual Dream Run on Saturday, March 3, 2018, a non-competitive, 5K fun run open to runners of all levels, families and friends who simply wish walk and admire the iconic Cathedral Rock views, and pets on a leash are also welcome.

The 2018 VVS Dream Run will begin and end on the school campus, taking runners through the stunning red rock scenery of Coconino National Forest that surrounds the campus towards the richly diverse Oak Creek riparian zone and back again.

Continue Reading…

VVS Equestrian Program is a Winner!

When we ask our international families and consultants what’s one of the most attractive reasons to study at VVVS, they often respond that the equestrian program is a big draw, and IB+Equestrian an even bigger appeal! Twenty seven horse live at VVS – a mix of Arabian, quarter horses and some gaited horses. Our riders  learn daily horse care, stable management, are responsible for morning and evening feeding, and participate in all facets of the barn operation.

VVS offers one of the most diverse recreational riding programs at the high school level.  At the heart of our equestrian program is the belief that horses are amazing teachers and master communicators, and that riders learn invaluable skills from them.  Our goals are to create a strong connection between horse and rider, and to expose our students to a variety of riding disciplines, events and terrain. Ours is a “liberal arts” rather than a specialty or trade school type of program with an emphasis on natural horsemanship.

Caroline Diehl, our Director of Equestrian Programs, shares a few stories about recent activities with our riders.

Bob Grant, a World Champion Versatility competitor, offered to put on a clinic for the VVS equestrians on a recent Saturday.  The event was held at Anchor Cross Ranch which Bob owns and it is also where we pasture our horses during the VVS breaks.  Bob shared so much information and gave students the opportunity to see a professional horseman at work.  He entertained us with incredible riding on amazingly trained horses and demonstrated reining and cutting cows and even worked a buffalo.  It was a true experiential-learning opportunity for our students!

Last fall, The Orme School invited VVS equestrians to a Team Sorting event.  In Team Sorting, two riders have two minutes to sort the most cows they can in a specific order through a gate into another pen, which is a skill that is prized on working cattle ranches.  It takes great agility and skillful riding, and it is also just plain fun.   VVS riders (Sky, Alex, Brynn, Amaya, Alexe, Haley, Anne, Nona, Alsace, Amelie, and Hanna) had a fabulous time working with the cows and their horses.

To enjoy the amazing triple phenomenon of the Blue Moon, Blood Moon and full eclipse during the pre-dawn hours of January 31st, a group of day students and I decided to take it all in from horseback.  We met at the barn at 4:15am with a moon so bright is was like daylight.  As we rode around the soccer field and then Cowpie we watched the eclipse unfold.  We met up with Stefanie and James (Nona’s parents) in the meadow adjacent to VVS Road where they treated us to hot chocolate and cookies as we watched them moon glow red and darkness take over.  What an amazing thing to witness!  Riders: Nona Schmid, Alex Gilbert, Nat Montgomery, Sky Diehl, Riley Diehl, Juniper Gill, and me.


Fall News from the VVS Farm

Mike Spielman ~ VVS Farm Manager

We planted garlic the other day. It went into one of the first beds we ever dug back in 2013, just to the south of the gate between a fading amaranth and the frozen stems of a Roma Olorode. I remember the three students who helped chop that dirt for the first time: one from California, another from South Korea, and the other from Saudi Arabia. We wondered if life was more like a circle or a spiral. We had no answers. Only wonder.   

December is my favorite time on the farm. Cabbages and greens are tucked beneath their winter sheets. The leaves of the fruit trees have blown into their wells. The Osgood Greenhouse is full of banana plants, mangoes and peppers. Seeds are drying. Squash are cured. The field is laid bare and we can begin to dream about next year’s design.

Walking around the new expansion I remember that this time last year it did not exist. There was no greenhouse either. The fencing for the southern expansion is now more than half done. Last month we ordered 57 fruit trees.  Fifty seven fruit trees!  Eleven pears. Seven peaches. Six plums.  Sixteen apples. Persimmons, nectarines, quince and sixty grape vines too. A lot of holes to dig between now and March!

We are back at the Sedona Farmer’s Market.  Please stop in and say hello if you are local. We are selling heirloom beans, winter squash, dried peppers, and Jerusalem artichokes.  Most of the greens right now are going to the Yavapai Food Council.  If you are a gardener and live far away, drop us a line. We’ll send some seeds.

A thousand thank you’s to all who have supported us this year!  We are honored and blessed and as always, excited to get back to work.

Project Period 2016 Schedule

With graduation just around the corner, students and faculty are gearing up for our end of year Project Period week. Project Period runs from Thursday, May 19 to Thursday, May 26.

Click here for the Project Period morning and afternoon schedule.

Day student parents and parents of 5-day boarders, please recognize that students are required to attend each meeting of their project and that projects run through the weekend. Project Period is a graduation requirement.

Project Period is a pretty magical way to end the school year, allowing for a few more adventures with friends before we disperse all around the globe. click here for a listing of Project Period offerings for 2016 and learn more about Project Period at https://vvsaz.org/project-period/

Project Period 2016

On May 19th we begin Project Period, a time in our calendar designed to widen the VVS curriculum by adding something not included in our day-to-day, or by providing the opportunity to go into greater depth in an area already studied. Many projects are led by guest artists who travel from all over the country to take part in the week. Others allow students to see different sides of their teachers as they offer various projects showcasing their passions outside of their classroom subject.

This year projects include outdoor projects like backpacking, canyoneering, mountain biking and solitude; arts projects like creative welding, slam poetry, expressive dance and circus arts; sports projects like VVS triathlon, personal fitness and aikido; and service projects like garden expansion, home makeover and Global Goals Malawi. This is just a taste of the projects. For a complete list and explanation of the projects on offer click here. Learn more about Project Period and see photos from past projects at https://vvsaz.org/project-period/

Day student parents, please be advised that the Project Period schedule includes weekends (May 19 through May 26) and students must attend all days of their project. Project Period is a graduation requirement.

VVS Outdoors Superstitions Hike

VVS Outdoors ventured into the Superstitions Wilderness, a range of mountains east of Phoenix, for a weekend of hiking and backpacking last Friday. 

Vivian Zhou enjoying a break on her hike through the Superstitions Wilderness with VVS Outdoors.

Peter Reynolds, Outdoor Coordinator, lead the group of ?? students from the Paralta trail head as they made their way around Weevers Needle for a bit of back country bouldering. They carried in all their supplies, hiked, slept under the stars and had an amazing weekend.

The next big trip on the VVS Outdoors calendar is set for early April and will take a group of students to Nevada. Students wishing to go on the trip must have checked off at least 20 items from the VVS Bucket List. The trip includes stops at the Valley of Fire, Red Rock Park and a quick side trip to the Las Vegas strip (well, if you’re there you can’t miss it, right?).  We’ll post photos and an update after the April trip.
To view photos from the Superstitions weekend visit www.vvsaz.org/galleries.

VVS Bucket List

It’s an understatement to say there is a lot to do at VVS. Seeing the wealth of activities and experiences open to students, Outdoor Coordinator Peter Reynolds decided to corral all these experiences together and prioritize them forming the VVS Bucket List.  

The list consists of 34 must do experiences that students can check off during their time at VVS.  Alexa Szombathy, ’15, was the first student to check each activity off the bucket list during her senior year last year.


The tradition continues this year with both faculty and student-led trips. Click here for a PDF of the Bucket List and get to ticking off these amazing experiences.  A student must complete all of the following to win the Bucket List Award this year:


  • Hike Cathedral Vortex
  • Find the Cave of the Door
  • Cow Pie Sunset
  • Read some Thoreau in the Thoreau Hut
  • Swim at Disneyland
  • Chill at Buddha Beach
  • Lead a Community Dinner Moment of Silence
  • Hike up to Napoleon and Find the Geocache
  • Sleep Out on Soccer Field
  • Cheer or Play in a Student vs Faculty Soccer Game
  • Feed a Horse an Apple
  • Show Your Dance Moves at a Rock Band Show
  • Slide Rock
  • Throw a Pot in Ceramics
  • Polar Bear Swim
  • Sleep Out on Cowpie
  • Write a Happy Note for the Happy Box
  • Make a Smore at a Campus Fire Pit
  • Hike to Monkey Face Cross
  • Ring the Chapel Bell for Community Meeting
  • Explore Witches Tit Wash
  • Perform at Coffee House
  • Moonlight Horse Ride
  • Have a Friendly Conversation with Casey
  • Watch a VVS Sunrise
  • Find the Old Gong Spot
  • Lead/Create a Weekend Activity
  • Help Plant or Harvest in the Garden
  • Cook Something in a Faculty Kitchen
  • Help With Backpack/MDG Program
  • Participate in a School Drama Production
  • See a Coyote, Tarantula and Javelina
  • Mission Impossible
  • Learn 5 Greetings in 5 Different Languages