Friday, December 17, 2010

Sixth Grade Wilderness

Last month I was lucky enough to be chosen to chaperon N1S's sixth grade field trip to LLCC wilderness camp. N1S's three day, two night, sleeping in a dorm, in late November, in Minnesota with 100 other sixth graders, field trip. Was I chosen to chaperon or was I hoodwinked into it?

The forecast for those three days was 20 to 30 degrees F with a chance for snow each day. The A group of sixth graders that went two weeks earlier had temps in the 60's with sunshine.

Despite the cool weather, we still had a lot of fun and weren't really that uncomfortable.

We started our adventure with a two hour bus ride. As bus rides go, this one started out fairly civilized. Halfway through we visited a rest stop to stretch our legs. That only proved to wake up the louder kids in the back of the bus who started 'singing' Christmas carols. The closer we got to the campground, the louder the singing became. The crooning had crescendoed to shouting by the time we reached our destination.

When the bus stopped, one of the teachers cleverly chose six volunteers to help unload the suitcases and bags from the trailer. It was surprising how many of the 'best' singers were chosen for such an honor.

Once unpacked, we were directed to the mess hall where KP was explained. I tried to bring some of the KP excitement home with me but N1S must have lost it on the bus.
Here are our table mates from table nine. The rockinest table at camp! Everyone said so.

For two and a half days we were scheduled from 8am to 9pm. We went on a bog hike. Yes, that's a hike through the bog. Not a swamp, and not a wetland. We learned that those are totally different. With the snow it was a pretty hike though.

This was where our guide got us lost in the bog. Apparently, she hadn't been on bog duty for a while and the new snow made the multiple trails confusing. She ended up calling for backup and one of the staff members back at camp rang the school bell to point us in the right direction home.

One of the activities that all the kids were buzzing about was archery. Quite a few arrows hit their targets, many more ended up in the woods.
I was just glad N1S loaded the pointy end away.

The kids also got to make a wilderness lunch. They had to gather their own wood, light their own fire and roast their own hot dogs. I think by the time the sticks got stacked and the birch bark lit, the kids were so hungry they only warmed their hot dogs in the smoke of their fire.

I think they are either waiting for someone to make a decision or for the fire to start itself.

For the last night we were there, the camp hosted a rendezvous. This was to demonstrate how pioneer trappers and traders would get together and celebrate with games like arm wrestling and tug of war standing on stumps. Just when the volume of the room had reached its peak with squealing and shouting sixth graders, the staff introduced leg wrestling. The parents in the room quickly exited to spare themselves the gruesome outcome of such an idea.

Luckily, no one lost a tooth or an eye and the rendezvous was a success in getting the kids all riled up before lights out.

On the last morning of our last day the staff hosted an orienteering race. Kids used a compass to find their way to checkpoints in the woods and race back to base with their card checked.

N1S placed second in his group. You can hum the theme song from 'Chariots Of Fire' if you want to.

Despite the cold weather, I think N1S had a fun time. And despite having to keep one hundred plus sixth graders from doing anything that would get on the local news, I think the parents had a good time too. N1S and I both got to meet and interact with new friends. And I am very proud of N1S for using good judgement and good friendship skills for his first overnight camp.

Yo, peace out y'all!

1 comment:

D.j.Kirkby said...

When I started reading this post I didn't think it would be an outing that I would ever enjoy myself but it actually sounded like fun!

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.