Making Memories and Learning Too

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 How many former Oostburg Middle School students remember their 6th grade camp experience?  Even though the duration at camp has changed quite drastically over the course of the past several years, one thing remains constant: the MEMORIES!  Last week OMS 6th graders spent two full days at Camp Anokijig.  These two days are a much anticipated field trip for students and staff alike.  There are some things that simply cannot be replicated within the walls of a classroom.  The camp experience is one of them.

Although students created memories that they will reminisce about at their 8th grade recognition, high school graduation, and 20 year class reunion, camp is more than the memories.  In the short amount of time that I joined them, it was evident that learning was taking place too!  As students finished lunch, they each had a job to do.  There were scrapers of the trays, cleaning up of dishes, washing of tables, putting up chairs, and sweeping.  The lesson in team work, responsibility, and leaving your space as clean or cleaner than when you found it was front and center.  As a mom of a current 6th grader, it also was a wake up call as you can certainly tell which students have practiced these skills at home before and which ones hadn’t just by the pure ease at which they completed the task.  Needless to say, my 6th grader needs more practice and can certainly do more than I am holding him accountable for!

After lunch, I had the privilege of participating in the Survival rotation.  In this hour, students learned about surviving in extreme conditions and the five essentials necessary to live.  After this, they had to apply what they learned and select five items, out of various items available to them, that would keep their small group alive the longest.  This hour had students collaborating, problem-solving, rationalizing, and thinking critically about typical and atypical uses for various everyday items.  Next students learned how to start a fire with a steel striker. The best part of this lesson was the persistence put forth by several of the students.  No one gave up.  While it took some longer than others to experience success, every student that attempted to start a fire with the striker was successful.

Although memories are made at Camp Anokijig each year, students also learn some important life skills and life lessons that will serve them well in college, career, and life in general.  I’m certainly thankful that we are able to give OMS students this opportunity!

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