Saturday, December 27, 2014


This is what we saw as we got off the bus!
What a December!  The month just flew by for us--but the highlight was Outdoor Science School!  We spent the week before vacation up in the mountains learning about the environment, the planet, and teamwork.  For the majority of our kiddos, camp is the highlight of their sixth grade year. The camp we go to, Camp High Trails, provides a phenomenal experience year after year.  The instructors are full of energy, enthusiasm, and a passion for the outdoors that they share with our students.   The kids get to participate in a variety of activities including archery, dancing, hiking, and rock climbing.  They can hold snakes, work together in team building activities, and perform skits on campfire night.   And this year we had snow! There had been a huge snowstorm the week before we arrived and another storm was predicted.

Many of my students don't have rich and varied life experiences.  Growing up, I remember my mom taking me to museums and plays, to the beach and to the mountains, to historical sites and special events.  I didn't realize it then, but she was building background for me, broadening my knowledge base, and helping me see the bigger picture.  And while technology helps bring the world closer to them, nothing beats an actual experience.

The scene outside the
dining hall window.
We were packed in like sardines on the bus ride up--thanks to a transportation problem--but the kids were really good.  They were so excited when they first saw the snow--that is what they were looking to the most (little did they know that for our sunny Southern California mindsets snow is just fun to visit for a few hours, not to spend a few days tramping around in it.)  Weather was predicted for our ride up, so we had a lot of nervous parents--however, it held off until we arrived.  Just as we were tumbling out of the bus, it started to snow.  It was magical.  
The snow continued to fall for the rest of that day and part of the next one.  For the first time in my fifteen years of attending camp, I had a lot of kids asking me when the bus was coming on Friday--it was so cold!  Now, I know for a lot of you out there, this kind of snow is a regular occurrence--but around here, we shiver and whine when it drops below 55 degrees.  To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, "We can't handle the cold."

However, it was a great week.  We made it home with no problems (usually the bus ride down is really hard on their tummies--if you know what I mean.)  And we sent them off on their winter break.

Even though it is a lot of extra work to get them up there--paperwork, fundraising, countless phone calls & emails, two parent meetings, record keeping, etc--it is so worth it.

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