My kids go to a small public school. It’s a community school which means that all parents are asked to volunteer about 130 hours of their time throughout the year towards school events and projects – of which we have many. There’s Bike-a-Thon, Winterfest, Artsfest (Fall AND Spring), STEAM fair, Science Fair, and of course…Camp.
Or rather #CAAAAAMP. (Or #caaaaaaaamp, depending on your social medium of choice.)
What sets our school camp apart from other school camps is that our kids go twice a year. Once in the fall (appropriately named Fall Camp) for an overnight with all students k-8th grades. And again in the Spring (Spring Camp).
Fall camp happens approximately 38 seconds after school starts and it is exhausting. It’s hectic. It’s usually soggy. But it’s also super fun in a community building sort of way. There’s something about herding 200 elementary school kids through dinner, tooth brushing, bedtime and breakfast that has a way of building solidarity among the parents. There are no ‘new students’ after Fall Camp.
But that’s Fall Camp. That’s just the part where we get to know each other. That’s not the part where we go to have fun outdoors. That’s Spring Camp.
Spring Camp usually happens a few weeks before the end of school. The older grades (6th, 7th and 8th) get to go off to their own, almost parent-free camp for 4 days. But the K-5th grades stay with us. As a community, we take all the k-5’s to stay at an Environmental Learning Center (think State Park facilities) and stay for 4 days.
During those 4 days the kids still have classes but instead of math, reading and art, they learn more applied lessons such as writing (nature) poetry and sewing stuffed animals.
The kids love Spring Camp. They learn orienteering and survival skills on the forest hike. They learn water conservation and responsible stewardship of our planet on the beach hike. They learn community responsibilities like helping serve food at meal times and cleaning up afterward.
They learn dexterity and team building during field games. They even put on a talent show.
And, of course, the best class ever: applied physics – which is basically a 4-day long water balloon fight with siege weapons.
As far as I can tell, it started out with one of those 3-person sling shots-the kind where two people hold each end and one person stretches the middle back to launch something. In this case, it was a water balloon. And another. And eventually, the hand-held slingshot became too cumbersome and fiddly for the amount of kids who wanted to use it. One of our parents decided it would be better if we had a free-standing sling shot. So he built one.
Or rather, he built two. Because if you’re going to go through all that trouble, why would you build just one gigantic free standing sling shot?
They were, as you may imagine, a huge hit.
This year, one of our other parents decided that sling shots were great and all but what we really needed was a trebuchet. So he built two. Because of course he did.
CHECK IT OUT:
We are now ready for the zombie invasion, or a return to the middle ages.