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Oct 4, 2010

Expeditionary School Camping Trip

This is our dog Bravo who knows were camping but
doesn't understand he can't go this time, very sad dog
 

Recently our school, an expeditionary learning school, went on a group camping trip to a local campground. The whole thing made me very nervous. Camping with 45 kids and parents most of which I didn't know.................... yet. The children were between 5 and 7 years old, the adults between 25 and 60 just to paint a clear picture.

The objective is to build community and create bonding within' the group while learning by doing.

This was a non stop extravaganza............ singing, dancing, 9 crafts stations, skits, individual crew routines, building a watershed at the lake, lunch, play time, hiking and then more of everything listed above. Ending the day around the campfire singing songs to a guitar and roasting smoores. Needless to say EVERYONE was exhausted by the end of the day. 9pm to be exact. 

Just to give my next statement credentials:  I used to work in the film industry so producing large numbers of people all working towards the same goals on schedule is very familiar to me and I completely recognize what an amazing task it is to do well at.

Our lead teacher was off the chart with producing this event. She managed almost 100 people whom most have never met into some 20 activities including meal making, camp set up and fire building with out a single hitch. It was one of the best orchestrated events I have ever witnessed. She could be making the big bucks in Hollywood with her skills but joyfully she is my daughters teacher instead.

BASICS OF SETTING UP A LARGE GROUP CAMP TRIP:

FOUR LARGE TENTS: 
Women W/daughters
Women W/sons
Men W/daughters
Men W/sons

MEALS:  Simple precooked meals
Dinner
Pot of beans
Pot of ground meat
Vat of salsa
Grilled squash
Grated cheese
Large tortillas 
Wrap it up and call it a burrito

Breakfast
Bagels 
Cream cheese or peanut butter
Orange juice
Several percolators of coffee
Creamer (so thankful I brought my own 1/2 1/2)

Snack
Cheese sticks
Crackers
Pre cut apples

Large cooler w/ water for drinks and gallon jugs of milk

Every camper brought a sack lunch

My Two Cents Literally:

Now all that being said I have to admit in all it's amazingness I could still find ways to improve the experience for myself and others like me. Admittedly not many I'm sure.

PRIVATE TENT FOR TWO: A few campers pitched their own tents for two and ditched the master plan. Like myself I wasn't ready to share a big tent with my 5 year old who is not used to this. It was a slice of sanity amidst so much organized chaos. However I can see why they must have group tents with so many people. I was thankful for the parents who were more zen about the whole trip and went with the flow but I was also there for the whole trip while other parents came for half the time.

QUITE TIME: I would have more quiet time............... do you see a theme here with me. Have the adults go into the large tents and read books to smaller groups of children. I ended up pulling away from the group twice to do this with my child. Mostly to prevent a melt down. It worked. Also we went to bed earlier then the group, no surprises here for our family.
PARENT INVOLVED ONLY: I know that not all parents can do the overnight camping. But for this age I think it should be mandatory for a parent or adult to be with each child. Instead of having the parents who did go take more kids than their own. That way there could be more time for a quiet walk to observe nature really bond with our surroundings. It seemed that all the activities were scheduled back to back in order to keep the group contained. Some parents were in charge of four kids, only one being there own. It's a labor of love I know but it's also crazy from my perspective.

Either way this trip was impressive. A bit fast paced for me and even for some of the kids but they seemed to enjoy themselves and I couldn't have done it as well as the teachers did from our school.

   

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