We finished our school weeks program today. It went very well! We had 1,202 students and 231 high school students participate in the High Trails outdoor education program. While we might not see the immediate impact that we had on these students, the evaluations that teachers fill out provide us the encouragement to know their students grew from their time at High Trails. We had high school students returning for their second or third year to be a member of the leadership program; schools have already signed-up to come back next year; students talked about wanting to come back as high school students; and there were even students who talked about their parents coming to High Trails. What a cool history!
While we are sad that school weeks has come to an end, we are definitely looking forward to the summer beginning. We are getting things going around here – cleaning the lodges, flying tents, setting up cabins, finishing program updates – and staff will start arriving in the next couple of weeks, then campers arrive soon after that!
I think one of the best parts of this job is that everything is always changing. Spring and summer require different teaching methods, both challenging and fun in their own ways. During the spring we see new students and schools every week. We may be teaching the same material several weeks in a row, but it is always different in how students relate to the material, appreciate the surroundings, ask questions, and participate. During the summer we are fortunate that campers stay for 2 or 4 weeks. We are able to work with the same campers and teach them new skills and information each interaction.
We won’t see as many children come through our program during the summer as we did this spring. We look to have the same impact on their lives, spring or summer. Teaching and learning take on a new meeting at while outdoors and while at summer camp. The experiences and adventures that take place here at High Trails, Big Spring, and Sanborn in general are meant to challenge students and campers, while helping them grow as individuals and community members. And most importantly, they are FUN!
We will keep you updated over the next couple of weeks on things around camp and be sure to check back this summer for posts written by our campers!