GREEN Lake Middle School students took their learning outdoors for three days as 300 sixth-grade students packed their suitcases and left their electronics - including cell phones - behind to spend Oct. 25-27 at Camp Y-Noah.
It’s an annual trip the middle school has been making for more than 23 years. Andrea Schafer and Beth Weingart, both sixth-grade teachers at Lake Middle School, said in addition to the 300 campers, there were 54 high school students who volunteered to be camp counselors.
"This is a great learning experience for both the middle school students and the high school students who are here to help the campers," Schafer said. "The high school students make great role models and leaders and are proactive in the learning experience. The sixth-grade students participate in a variety of activities that provide a variety of learning experiences. They study pond life, do water testing, learn to prepare meals using a grill or camp fire, they learn about wildlife through hiking, learn to fish and learn to horseback ride."
"This is the first time camping or fishing for many of the students, as teachers we love to see our kids outside learning and having fun," Weingart added.
One of the favorite classes taught during the annual trip is called SCIDDLE, which is an acronym for Stop, Calm down, Inquire what’s going on, Decide what to do, Do it, Look back and Evaluate. Weingart said the class is taught entirely by the high school counselors.
"The class allows them to open up about what’s going on with them in sixth grade and they relate to high school counselors because they also share their experiences," she said.
Camp Y-Noah sits on 250 acres with a 30-acre pond in Green. There is also an equestrian center. Campers can fish, canoe, hike and climb a rock wall. The camp’s Executive Director, Carl "Rocky" Wargo, said it has church groups, corporate groups, schools, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other groups camp with them.
"We have our staff members interact with the student counselors and teachers to make help keep the campers busy from the time they wake up until they go to bed," Wargo said. "Campers learn archery, fishing, canoeing and horseback riding along with group activities such as problem solving, leadership skills and being nice to each other. It’s a significant event for the middle schoolers and the high school counselors."
The schedule also included entertainment in the evenings with dancing and singing camp songs. Hal Walker, a singer from Kent, provided entertainment. He teaches the campers songs about Ohio and songs that make one feel good about oneself.
Students used to camp in the spring but shifted to fall because of spring testing. This year, the warmer fall weather played a big role because the leaves turned a bit later than usual. The camp was in full color with the leaves on the trees finally changing to bright oranges, yellow and reds. With the weather for the final day of the camp reaching into the mid 70s, all of the students were engaged in activities and nobody was looking a cell phone.