Thanksgiving Arizona 2021:
The Grand Side of America
The Grand Canyon
We visit one of the USA’s most spectacular natural landscapes, taking in the untouched beauty of our surroundings.
We visit sites of the ancient civilizations that came before us on this land, and trace civilization back 10,000 years.
America’s Best Idea
We engage in meaningful conversations with National Parks Service professionals and rangers, learning about their ongoing challenges and the changing role of national parks in American life.
The below itinerary provides one projection of the daily schedule. Changes may be made to improve the program quality, based on the logistical and educational needs of enrolled students.
Early arrivals / Late departures can be arranged to meet the needs of individual students.
Saturday/Sunday – November 20/21
Students arrive and check in to our accommodations outside of Phoenix. We hold welcome dinners for all arrivals, and spend some time getting to know each other, adjusting to our surroundings, and discussing what we are most looking forward to during the week.
Monday – November 22
We head out to stretch our legs on the South Mountain Park hike in the Sonoran Desert. We use our first time outside together to frame the environmental questions we will explore on this program. In the evening, we enjoy the Taliesin West Night Lights Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic desert-inspired architecture.
Tuesday – November 23
We head out for our transfer north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. We settle in and explore Grand Canyon Village on foot and enjoy a big meal together, before heading back to our hotel for the hottest hours of the day to rest, do homework, exercise, or journal.
Wednesday – November 24
We eat breakfast inside Grand Canyon Village and head out early on the Cedar Ridge hike to take advantage of the beautiful early morning mist in the Canyon. In the afternoon, we enjoy a tour of the Museum Collections, where geologists and researchers conduct important analyses to better understand the Canyon’s 2 billion year history. There, students can view ancient artifacts and preserved fossils that give us clues into the people who inhabited the Canyon prior to modern history.
In the evening, we enjoy the sunset at Moran Point.
THursday – November 25
It is Thanksgiving! In the morning, we all make a menu together where each student contributes a dish related to their family’s cultural heritage tradition. We shop for the ingredients and work together throughout the day to cook a meal and enjoy it together.
Friday – November 26
This is our student choice day, designed to give students agency and space on their spring break to take time for themselves and do something they enjoy. Students collaboratively come up with different options with assistance from Envoys instructors on what is feasible around town, perhaps a bike ride, campus tour of Northern Arizona University, visit to the library, or food tour.
In the evening after nightfall, we head to the Lowell Observatory–the very place Pluto was discovered–for some stargazing.
Saturday – November 27
After breakfast, we head northeast of town to visit the incredible Wupatki National Monument, home of the ancient Puebloan people. We learn about their way of live, rituals, traditions, and skillset, before convening a reflective space for students under the wide, expansive sky.
Sunday – November 28
We close the program in the morning and assist students with departures as the day continues.