Friday, May 5, 2017

Country Roads Take Me Home

Last week I had the privilege of chaperoning a week long field trip camping trip for 30 of my 4th graders at my school.  I was a little hesitant to go at first because I didn't know what to expect but now that I am home I am so grateful that I had this great opportunity. While I can't post any pictures of my students on here I can assure you they had a blast on this trip as well. 

My school was able to go on this trip through a grant from the National Park Service.  The school I work at is a title 1 school [for those non school lingo speaking folk that means low income] so camping / summer camps is not something that my students are ever exposed to.  We were able to have everything provided for us through this grant.  The trip was planned out so perfectly by one of the Rangers who developed the program.  We were the first group this was tried out on and you would have never known.  

The whole week was planned out with all sorts of hands on lessons for the students.  I loved watching their engagement in the lessons, learning about science and nature.  The kiddos eyes were filled with wonder and joy throughout the whole week.  Add in sleeping in cabins with bunk beds and their friends and campfires every night the week for the 4th graders was camp bliss. 

Not only was this trip a once and a life time experience for my students it was so good for me.  My head has been swimming with goals and plans and expectations but this week forced me to slow down and be present.  I went out and hiked multiple times a day, got to journal by the rushing river, and just simply enjoyed being outside in creation.  My soul is always the most at peace outdoors near mountains or water - this camp was perfectly situated by both! 

One of my favorite moments was in the evening all the adults were sitting by the campfire waiting for the kids to shower and start lights out.  I had a clear view into my cabin to keep an eye on my girls.  I looked up and saw them all playing uno together on one of the top bunks, smiling, laughing, and getting to be kids.  They got to experience true friendships and relationship building this week by playing games, being outside, and us banning them from technology [unless it was to call their parents]  

The kids wrote me thank you notes at the end of the week which reminded me that I am exactly where I should be right now.  There is such power in mattering, listening, and being present with people.  What my kiddos wrote proved that to me.  I know that they will remember the time I took to teach them about the stars, to play board games in the mess hall, to listen while sitting in rocking chairs by the river, and even to let them stay up late building relationships with each other instead of get mad and yell [even if it cost me my sleep!] 

Thank you Camp Brookside and the National Park Service for such a wonderful week.  You treated us so well and completely blew me away with this trip! 

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