Experiential Challenges Outdoors (EChO)

In the heart of the Experiential Challenges Outdoors (EChO) program is the belief that every student should have the opportunity for the kind of growth that comes from real adventure.


Through EChO, our classroom is New Hampshire’s mountains, forests, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, marshes and Spaulding Academy & Family Services’ over 500 acre campus. With carefully-planned and designed activities as well as cutting-edge adaptive equipment and techniques, our students learn to embrace challenges and take positive risks in a variety of outside activities.

In warm weather, students enjoy swimming and learning to maneuver watercraft, such as a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe. Students can also complete a bicycle safety program to receive a biking license for use on the campus trails. Rock climbing and the ropes courses are other favorite EChO adventures and can be done almost year-round. In cold weather, students learn to snowshoe and cross-country ski through the miles of campus trails. When necessary, equipment is modified so that each child can access the same lesson as their peers. EChO staff work closely with Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Speech and Language Pathologists to provide wraparound support for students participating in these adventures.

Meet Our EChO Staff

Jason Sterner M.Ed.Jason Sterner, EChO Instructor

Jason Sterner has been the Outdoor Education Coordinator at Spaulding since 2000. He has worked as a rock and ice-climbing guide for EMS and an Adjunct Professor for the Adventure Education Dept. at Plymouth State University. He has also worked as a challenge course builder for Project Adventure and an instructor for Outward Bound.


  • M.Ed. Adventure Education, Plymouth State University
  • BA. English Lit, University of Colorado at Denver

Certifications and Professional Organizations

  • Wilderness First Responder, Stone Hearth Open Learning Opportunities. Recertification, November 2015
  • Lifeguard Certification, American Red Cross, Recertification, May 2016
  • Top Rope Site Manager Certification, American Mountain Guides Association, June 2006
  • Rock Instructor Course, American Mountain Guides Association, June 2002
  • Level II Practitioner, Professional Crisis Management Association, November 2016
  • Advanced Skills and Standards Certificate, Project Adventure, September 2007
  • Water Safety Instructor, American Red Cross, May 2014
  • Adventure-Based Counseling Certificate, Project Adventure, November 2006
  • Level 2 Stand up Paddleboard Certification, American Canoe Association, May 2016
  • Swift Water Rescue, American Canoe Association, 2003
  • Association for Experiential Education Member, Presenter, April 2017
  • Level 2 Challenge Course Priactioner Certification, High 5 Learning Center, May 2018
  • Level 3 Challenge Course Manager Training, High 5 Learning Center, April, 2018

Jessie MunroeJessie Munroe

Jessie Munroe is our newest member of the EChO Department at Spaulding Academy & Family Services. She has worked as the Student Orientation Adventure Program and White Mountain Orientation Coordinator at Plymouth State University. She has also led groups in hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and stand-up paddle boarding as an Outdoor Discovery School Instructor for L.L Bean.


  • BS in Adventure Education, Cum Laude, Plymouth State University

Certifications and Professional Organizations

  • Wilderness First Responder, SOLO Schools, November 2017
  • Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, November 2013
  • Level 2 Challenge Course Practicioner Certification, High 5 Learning Center, May, 2018
  • Lifeguard Certification, American Red Cross, April 2018

Have a Question?

If you have further questions or would like to schedule a campus tour, please contact Nick Silva, Director of Admissions at nsilva@SpauldingServices.org or 603-286-8901 x204.