Mt. Hood Climb Service Day

Each year, on the second Wednesday in May, the students and faculty of Oregon Episcopal School, as well as many staff members, parents, alumni, and friends gather for Mount Hood Climb Service Day. Through the activities and events of this day we honor our past, celebrate our gratitude to the greater Portland community, and inspire our individual and collective power for good.

The school community annually observes and appropriately remembers the Mount Hood Climb tragedy, which occurred in May of 1986, taking the lives of nine members of our community. Our Mount Hood Climb Service Day has a clear and hope-filled purpose. We spend this day in service to thank others for the critical and sustaining support the Portland community offered when our school was suffering. These many years later, our day of service has matured into an invaluable tradition and one of our most important endeavors.

Mount Hood Climb Service Day begins with an all school gathering around the Belltower. From that point dozens of service learning groups are sent out with a celebration and a blessing. Locally, over fifty agencies benefit from the hands-on presence of OES ambassadors. Through our engagement with these agencies we remember our responsibility to care for children, the elderly, and people living in poverty, in hunger or without homes. In addition, blended-age groups dedicate themselves to environmental and sustainability projects here on our campus, in and around our gardens, woods, and wetlands.

Although our students perform service in many ways throughout the school year, this day stands out as a cornerstone of our service-learning program. It is an important day to the OES community, and a long-standing tradition of the school; this event has happened every year since 1987. We appreciate the agencies that work with us on this day, and the vital work they do every day of the year to help those in our city who are in need.

As an Episcopal school, we affirm that love is stronger than death. Throughout the year, as well as on this day, we seek ways to live out our mission to realize our “power for good.” By commemorating the community’s experience on the anniversary of the Mount Hood Climb, we reflect the justice, peace, healing and hope of which we are all capable.

If you would like to discuss any of the history or context for Mount Hood Climb Service Day, please feel to contact Head Chaplain Phillip Craig or 503-768-3138.