6th Gamp McDowell

Our Sixth Grade students focus on Earth Science. Each year, we visit Camp McDowell’s Environmental Center for hands-on-activities targeting this concept. The students spend three days learning about a variety of topics such as the human impact on our Earth, water quality, geology, biodiversity, alternative energy methods as well as team building skills in which the students are taught how to trust their own abilities. Students also experience canoeing and are taught the importance of food conservation. The Camp McDowell counselors lead each student through the topics and provide guidance for success. As a class, they create memories together that are unforgettable.

At night, the students are exposed to two different experiences. The first (and most exciting) is the Night Hike. The counselors lead each group through a walk in the woods without artificial light. Students are guided into letting their eyes adjust to the darkness. After each student feels comfortable, they are instructed to walk fifty yards in the dark, through the woods, from the group to a counselor. This takes a lot of courage and students are always surprised when they make it to the other side. As you can imagine, it creates a lot of confidence and trust in their abilities. Another night event that students experience is the Songs, Sparks, and Stories. Students are gathered around a campfire to perform silly skits and learn new songs. The adults, teachers and parents, are not spared at this event. This is a great time for the students to join in a little fun with parents and teachers to see their silly side.

Upon leaving, students are so reluctant to return home. This experience is as rewarding individually as it is for the group. New friendships are made and students leave with a new positive self-perception. From a teacher’s point of view, the camaraderie that is built during our time together is the ultimate reward.        Camp McDowell

Jennifer Dunn