The continuous progress students at Noah's school take an annual camping trip. Almost all children have at least one parent go along. In October I went with Noah. At the camp information night I quickly learned that this was a good one to start with because of the time of year and because the environmental center we were headed to was just over 2 hours away, the closest of them all. Last year the trip was in February and 90 miles from the Canada border...all I could think was brrr, I'd be miserable.
The center had dorm style buildings with bunk beds for sleeping and eating. We also learned at the info meeting that we would need serious outdoor gear, including rain pants - who owns rain pants??? We bought or borrowed all the essentials and packed up. I dropped Noah off at school to ride on the bus with all 56 of his classmates and then carpooled with three other parents. We arrived at the environmental center and the excitement was palpable. The kids had been discussing camp for weeks.
Noah roomed with two other first grade boys and their dads. I roomed with four girls and three moms.
Our stay was for three days and two nights!
Noah and his roommate looking at books before bed.
Hunting for fungi.
So many cool mushrooms.
The one indoor class was rock climbing. The rock climbing adventure is for 1st and 2nd graders and is a great opportunity for students to challenge themselves. Noah learned that he is scared of heights, his venture up usually ended at the exact moment he looked down.
The last night we gathered around a camp fire. The students were able to give a presentation/performance. Some recited a poem, others acted out a skit, some told jokes, etc. One of Noah's teachers then stood and said that it was time for "The Chair". He went on to say that in our society it is rare for people to be publicly recognized and this is their chance to call up someone who they would like to acknowledge. The older kids knew this was coming and were excited to call up classmates to thank them for being a friend, making good choices, etc. Some were particularly poignant. A fourth grade girl called up the two teachers and thanked them for all they do for the class and shared how important they are in her life. Wow! A third grade boy called up Noah, put his hand on his shoulder and told him that he is a good friend, that he has good manners and that even though he is in third grade and Noah is in first that Noah would probably beat him in one on one football, and finally that he was happy to have Noah in his class. There was really no way to fight back the tears, I sat there with tears streaming down my cheeks and joy in my heart. I know those words meant SO much to my boy. Later a fifth grade boy called up all the first graders (I think there are 9 or 10) and told them that he remembered coming to CP for the first time and since then he has done so many things he never thought he could and made so many friends. He ended by telling the kids they were in good hands. Even the teachers had tears at that and decided to call it a night on that heartfelt note.
Noah in The Chair.
The camp experience is truly a wonderful one for the kids. The time together and new experiences allow the kids to bond in a way that is different from their time in the classroom. So special.