Grade Seven Outdoor Education
This year I had the chance to go on the annual Outdoor Education trip with our Grade Seven students. Many years ago this trip was at the end of the school year. We now have it in the second week of school so that it can serve as an opportunity for the students to bond with each other and with their teachers.
Each year I go to Outdoor Education with some level of trepidation. So much could go wrong! There is horseback riding, swimming, and all sorts of potentially hazardous physical activities. On top of that are the social challenges. Many kids have never been away from home overnight, and one can only imagine the possible problems when ten 12-year-olds are sharing a cabin.
I am so happy to report that the kids were terrific on this trip. Sure, on the first day we had to remind them of some ground rules, but overall the Grade Sevens were respectful, polite, inclusive, and engaged. I was proud of how they reacted to the challenges put before them and made sure everyone was included in activities. On the second evening of camp, the students all participated in a “Forgiveness Circle” in which they apologized for past wrongs and looked ahead to a fresh start. It was uplifting and hopeful; exactly the way you hope to start a new school year.
This class, like all classes, is not perfect. There will be bumps on the road. My hope is that the students remember the events of Outdoor Education and carry those positive feelings forward into the rest of Grade Seven. Their teachers and I are excited about their potential and look forward to helping them grow into the best possible versions of themselves.