"It is so peaceful out here, I could stay out here all day”, I think that often, but these words spoken from the stern of our canoe, came from a 6th grade boy who just twenty minutes before this was so fearful, he wasn’t sure he wanted to canoe. After practicing his steering skills in the lagoon, as our group paddled out onto the placid waters of Perrin Lake, he experienced the transformation from fear to confidence and from trepidation to elation. This is the power of providing Outdoor / Environmental Education experiences for students in today’s culture.
Other highlights from the fall O/EE program include…
… an overnight Wilderness Experience for the Bethany Christian 8th graders on Beaver Island that included cooking meals over a campfire and an intentional session of learning and practicing canoe rescue skills.
…having two groups achieve Zero Waste at a meal time. The 28 fifth graders, staff and chaperones from St John the Evangelist Catholic School in Goshen had zero food waste at one meal. Then the 27 sixth graders from St Vincent DePaul Catholic School from Elkhart set the bar high by achieving zero food waste at all three of their meals! Impressive!
…an overnighter with our Homeschool Nature Study Program 6th-8th graders on Beaver Island in October that involved finishing construction of debris shelters that eight of the students slept in, even though the overnight temperatures dipped into the low 40’s. Exciting to have the five breakfast groups all accomplish starting their cooking fires using flint and steel, rather than matches. An amazing accomplishment!
So blessed to have wrapped up a safe and memorable fall O/EE season!
Written by Cheryl K. Mast, Coordinator of Outdoor / Environmental Education