The students arrived to great weather at High Trails today. They were excited to get off the buses and enjoy their time in nature. The High Trails staff helped the students move into their cabins after a short, introductory meeting. Each student was able to pick his/her own bed and locker for his/her belongings. The cabin groups spent time getting to know each other before lunch. Everyone seemed to enjoy the soup, sandwiches, and especially the cookies.
After lunch the High Trails staff took their cabin groups out for short hikes and to play games until their first discovery group. All the students participated in Setting the Mood this afternoon. Each group went to a different high point around the property to talk about using the 5 senses, the sense of Wonder we use at High Trails, goals for the week, and a little about how experiential education works. The students start learning about nature and how they can learn while having fun outside. While on Setting the Mood, the students write “quotes,” or feelings they have in their special spots, about High Trails, or about nature. Students are able to express their creativity and wonderings about the week on pieces of paper. The High Trails staff will read about 20 of the students’ quotes on the big rocks before leaving on Thursday. The students are able to choose spots that stand out to them as being special; during the last discovery group on Thursday the students will have the opportunity to return to their special spots.
The lodge was full of stories tonight at dinner as the students shared their learnings and adventures from the afternoon with their cabin mates. The spaghetti, salad, breadsticks, and cake were a big hit with everyone. For evening program the students either went to the Hoedown or the Interbarn. The High Trails staff led silly, choreographed dances that everyone at the Hoedown enjoyed. They are always able to get everyone dancing, laughing, and having a good time. At the Interbarn, our hands-on science center, the staff led stations that allowed the students to learn more about animals, the Earth, rocks, and imaginative games. This is an opportunity for the students to continue learning in a fun, and interactive way.
The High Trails staff returned to the cabins after evening programming to debrief the day, prepare for tomorrow, and say goodnight to their students. It was a big day and everyone seemed excited for what tomorrow will bring. The staff will take their cabin groups out for morning hikes around the property before breakfast. There is a good chance on the morning hikes to see deer, ninja squirrels, and tracks from other animals. We look forward to hearing stories at breakfast.