Scott Ellis Earns SHAPE VT Leadership Award

Scott Ellis Earns SHAPE VT Leadership Award

Scott Ellis, coordinator of the Thetford Outdoor Program (TOP), was recognized by the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Vermont (SHAPE Vermont) with the Physical Activity Leadership Award during a ceremony Oct. 19 in Killington.

The state-wide award recognizes outstanding individuals who actively promote lifelong health and physical activity. Ellis, who teaches Thetford Academy’s half-day outdoor and environmental education course and leads TOP’s monthly student adventure trips, has made it his mission at Thetford Academy to engage TA students in active, outdoor experiences.

“Scott Ellis is the consummate outdoor leader; it’s in his blood,” said Dean of Academics Marc Chabot. “He promotes the discovered joy and the earned satisfaction in life from overcoming challenges found uniquely in out-of-doors experiences.

“His passion, along with his willingness to go the extra mile (literally!), is very nearly without limit as he works to find ways for students to build both emotional and physical health through adventure and movement.”

This summer, Scott’s Thetford Outdoor Program offered a week-long student canoe trip on the Connecticut River. In August, Scott led an overnight orientation program for new students and directed this year’s daylong freshman class orientation; in September, he took students on a canoe and camping trip to an island on the Connecticut.

Over the course of the school year, the program has a number of weekend adventures planned, ranging from overnight camping in the school’s yurt, to fishing, canoeing, and kayaking on the Upper Valley’s waterways. Thanks to the generosity of several foundations and individual donors, all TOP trips are free of charge and open to all TA students.

“I’m impressed at Scott’s initiative, determination, and relentless optimism,” Head of School William Bugg said. “Eighteen months ago, Scott took on the challenge of leading a small, brand-new initiative and has nurtured and grown it into one of TA’s signature programs. His work in environmental studies and outdoor adventure is taking wings and impacting more and more students.” 

The mission of the Thetford Outdoor Program is to “ignite academic curiosity and foster environmental stewardship through outdoor exploration, recreation, and project-based, experiential learning.” Scott Ellis’s leadership of this program has led to its success, and this recognition by SHAPE Vermont is well-deserved. Congratulations, Scott!