St. Benedict's Prep
Saint Benedict's Prep Summer Internship is an experiential leadership development opportunity that provides midshipmen with small unit leadership and mentorship responsibilities in a diverse and unfamiliar environment. St. Benedict's Prep prepares boys and girls in and around Newark to fulfill their potential as emotionally mature, morally responsible, and well-educated citizens. Operated by the Benedictine monks of Newark Abbey since 1868, St. Benedict's offers a rigorous curriculum that sharpens the mind, shapes the character, and nourishes the spirit.
Block 0 "Appalachian Trail Hike" takes place in May. To close out their freshman year experience, students at SBP have to complete a 55-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail while traveling in groups of approximately eight students. The hike's purpose is to foster leadership and collaboration among students who are expected to stay together throughout the entirety of the trail. "Stay Together," a term coined by the late leader and founder of St. Benedict's Backpacking Project, Fr. Mark Payne, O.S.B. '69, helps Gray Bee freshmen while they navigate "The Trail." The 55-mile hike over the Appalachian Trail begins at High Point State Park and concludes at the Delaware Water Gap in Northwest New Jersey. SBP staggers their students' departure for the Appalachian Trail hike over four days, including that Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the USNA graduation weekend. Therefore, Midshipmen who attend Ring Dance may not start the trail until Monday and hence not complete the hike until the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. All Midshipmen who attend Block 0 have to do the hike and are expected to be willing to do the hike. It is the main effort of the training. It is physically and mentally demanding.
Block 3 "The Freshmen Overnight" takes place in July. Midshipmen spend the first week helping the staff and upper-class leadership team run an indoctrination period for the incoming freshmen wherein all SBP freshmen learn and buy into St. Benedict's ethos. This experience lasts an entire week and includes students attending school, completing orientation activities, and sleeping each night on the gym floor. The following weeks are spent helping in the classrooms, mentoring the students, and developing a leadership development course for St. Ben's similar to NL110. During this time, midshipmen will establish relationships with St. Benedict's students to continue for many years. Midshipmen will leverage their analytical knowledge gained at USNA. Through this experience, midshipmen understand the vast array of social dynamics that challenge leaders when in the fleet.