This past week has been filled with memories and learning that could have never occurred within the walls of even, the most amazing of schools. The life-lessons, hands on and first hand learning, the relationships forged, and independence gained, throughout the four days we spend at Camp Magruder, were so amazing! I wish that there was a way to show, each and every parent, teacher, and student, what this program does for our kids, but unfortunately, my words and experience will have to do.
There were many, many aspects of camp that helped to shape the minds of those who attended. Here are just a few:
|Earth Field Study: Oregon Coast|
Relationships: Our school went to a camp which also housed a school from a district quite different from ours (in distance and experiences). It was life-altering for many of our students to meet, and become friends with others who are not like them in every way, who come from a different way of life, and who have other interests. Their relationships with their peers also changed. Many students who haven't said more than two words to each other all year, were now room mates and friends. Finally, their relationships with their teachers.
|Animal Field Study: In the Woods|
Our students got to see us in a different light. At camp, teachers are fun, silly, and have all the time in the world. I try to be/do these things in my classroom to, but with standards, testing, several classes, grading, questions, etc., some of those things happen on a limited basis. I was able to have several, good, happy, relaxed, conversations with my students. Not about Social Studies, or how they can get a better grade, but about their interests, their favorite part of the day, their hopes for the future, etc. Those relationships and the bonds strengthened through this experience is, in and of itself, worth every penny!
|Beautiful Lake in Camp|
Sustainability: Outdoor school isn't just about trees, life cycles, bugs, and science. It also has a wonderful component that we could all use refreshers on from time to time. At every meal, students learned about ways to save energy, live in a sustainable way, help the environment, and how these tips can affect the world around them. They discussed/taught by example the benefits of buying local food, composting, growing your own food, and overall environmental awareness. I think of myself as someone who cares deeply about the world I live in, and I do my best to make my footprint a small one, but I learned so much from being surrounded by while at camp. It reminded me of the things I already know, but have "forgotten" and the easy changes I can make to help my local area: environmentally, socially, and financially.
Please, support and push for outdoor school programs in your school districts! These programs teach our students invaluable life lessons they just can't get anywhere else!
|Forest Field Study: The View from the Hike|