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Sixth Grade Camp: A Week to Remember
By: Sixth Grade Teachers Debbie Brummit and Jim Holmes
On the morning of September 15, Rossman School sixth graders left Rossman for their traditional camping trip. We hopped on the bus sans any electronics and began a week of team-building challenges and memories.
The camp staff waited for us with smiles on their faces, ready to guide our students through their first challenge — the creek walk. This water-and-crayfish-filled pathway led the students to camp where they climbed up the bank, some of them wet to their shoulders and others completely dry! The students hiked up the rock path to their cabins, changed clothes and claimed their bunks for the week.
After lunch, the students made journals and played team-building games. They were introduced to the cup game in which they strived to beat a rhythm together as a group. They worked with each other to find the tempo that worked for all and by the end of the week were successful in their attempts. We ate a late dinner and headed off to dreamland for the first night in the wilderness.
Tuesday, the infamous “dot game” was introduced, and the students quickly conquered the first part, but still are working to figure out the second half. The students created candleholders using a froe and maul, brace and bit, and other frontier tools. They also spun ropes to use to lash together their canoes on Wednesday. Many personal goals were met and surpassed at the rock wall as well. It was very fun to share the day with Mr. and Mrs. Shipley. We were comforted when we saw their smiling faces join the activities and proud to show them all the accomplishments.
Tuesday night came to a fantastic close with a delicious veggie stir fry dinner. After filling up on veggies the students were ready for another great night sleep.
We were happy to have Mrs. Clark join us on Wednesday morning. Although rain pounded in the morning, we enjoyed playing team-building games under the pavilion while listening to and watching the rain fall. The students learned about more frontier tools and how to barter in a logic-based game using beads or buckeyes. The rain finally cleared in the afternoon, and the students headed down to the lake to attach their canoes together. Each team of seven paddlers launched for a trip around the lake.
By the time canoeing was over, the students were ready to begin cooking. After dinner they went back to the cabins to prepare for their solos in the woods. Many students enjoyed this experience. They used their candles, candleholders and journals made earlier in the week. While spending an hour in nature alone seemed daunting to some, the unanimous end result was positive. Some students wrote while others slept peacefully. After the solo, Elsie P. wrote, “Some things are scary in the beginning, like the solo, but you need to get used to yourself because you have to live with yourself.”
Thursday may have been the most challenging experience of the week. We were thrilled that Mrs. Boyle joined us for this day. The students learned to operate a compass and map and headed out for their orienteering expedition. All teams encouraged each other and succeeded at a task that was both mentally and physically challenging. Each map showed ten locations in the woods surrounding camp. The students were asked to use their maps and compasses to find each location. When they arrived they collected their flag and at some stations completed a team-building initiative. Ainsley H. discovered, “You can’t accomplish something big without the help of a friend. Team work is key to accomplish almost any goal.” We were proud of all the groups for their determination, motivation and perseverance to complete this task.
Thursday night, the students celebrated with their last campfire of the week. Each student was given the opportunity to sit in the “Seat of Wisdom.” We listened as many students shared their appreciation and love for each other and Rossman School. They spoke of their future and their past with great passion. After shedding a few tears, the tenor changed as camp songs were sung, stories were recited and s’mores were enjoyed. On the way back to the cabins we were able to gaze at the stars and the counselors shared their knowledge of the constellations in the clear night sky.
Although Friday was the last day of camp, the students woke up with enthusiasm and were eager to attempt the dot game. They are anxious to finish their efforts at school, and we hope the many lessons they learned at camp will help them achieve their goal. Delaney F. wrote, “You haven’t failed until you quit.” This group definitely will not quit, and we know they will defeat the dot game.
While many of the students were excited to return to the comforts of their homes, we also know that part of their hearts and memories will forever be at camp. Christopher M. encapsulated the sentiments of many, “If you’re working as a team, don’t work by yourself and for yourself, work as a team and for your team.” We hope our students will take the lessons they learned at sixth grade camp, treasure them and apply them to any challenge they may encounter in their future.