As a new staff person to join the School Age Child Care team at the Southern District YMCA/Camp Lincoln, Inc., I was intrigued by our camp grounds. I sought out the Camp Director and learned quite a bit about Camp Lincoln. After this discussion I asked if I may sit in on an Outdoor Education experience and was granted the opportunity.
I joined the Outdoor Education team on a cool Wednesday in October. I, along with middle school children from Hampstead, started off our day in the camp pavilion. Camping Program Director Cory Evans began the day by introducing himself to the children. The Outdoor Education facilitators and I followed suit. We shared our name, how many years we’ve been at Camp Lincoln, what we studied in school (yes – a plug for education!) and our favorite food preparation method. Uh, I was tempted to say microwaving, but realizing setting a healthy example would be better, I changed my answer. Nonetheless, a fun and quirky way to start the day and introduce one’s personality to the kids.
We then broke off into groups of about 20 students along with their teachers from school and one camp facilitator. My first stop was archery: I can now say I know the proper way to shoot an arrow, and even had a dream about it since! On my way to join a second group, I crossed the “Burma Bridge”. This was my first battle of facing my fears as it’s slightly raised off the ground and wiggles. I can proudly say that I did it.
My second stop was the climbing wall. Not only was I very entertained by the wit, humor, and personality of the lead facilitator, I was also beginning to think by the end of the session that I might some day be brave enough to attempt scaling the wall – fear of heights and all. Lastly I sat in on what Camp Lincoln refers to as “low ropes” or “challenge course”. I went into this last part of the day with high expectations. This was what I most wanted to see aside from high rope acrobatics (which will have to happen some other time). Well, my expectations were blown away. I was incredibly impressed by the facilitator and also by the students attempting the challenges. I can say I’ve honestly never seen a group of middle school children treat each other with more respect when faced with a difficult situation. After completing 3 elements (or challenges), the facilitator sat us all down and had us share one word to describe our experience. I heard words like fun, challenging, scary, and fantabulous. The last three boys to share said the following: “Awesome”, “Double awesome” and “Triple awesome.” Ah, triple awesome indeed.