Outdoor School 2012

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 13th, 2012

As promised, here's a real update on our ODS week!  It's probably the most extensive weekly news in the short history of Mrs. Nilsen's weekly news.  I'm hoping to add more student narrative and comments to the tidbits of information below in the upcoming week.  Keep checking in and ask your child about all the awesome activities they participated in during ODS!
Note: I can't post the hundreds of pictures we have from ODS on here as I have limited space, but if you check out our group Snapfish page, MRA Seniors, we can all share unlimited pictures on there!  See the photo sharing blog entry for more info.

Monday - April 9, 2012

Social Science Day at MRA

We kicked off our week long ODS celebration with a Social Science themed day of activities and problem solving.  Students worked in various teams to complete two specific tasks.  They spent the morning playing the “Trading Game” and the afternoon working to construct a dam to build on the Yangtze River.  I could both tasks in full, but instead, I encourage you to check back in next week to see what students had to say about the day and the tasks.  Students will also be working on posts about the rest of ODS next week.  A big thanks to the volunteers who came in and offered their time during the activites in the gym on Monday!

I know I have pictures from this day somewhere.  Once I find them I'll get a couple up on here!  Until then, you should definitely check out the amazing lunch entertainment we had below.  Thanks Mr. Workentin for catching this beautiful moment.  

Tuesday - April 10, 2012

Hopkins Demenstration Forest Day

Tuesday we started the morning off with our second all Senior fieldtrip for the year.  We took a trip to the Hopkins Demonstration Forest.  Another “special” part to our day was that for the day (and ONLY for this particular field trip) students were ALLOWED to bring their cell phones to school if they had photo capabilities.  This allowed each small group (3 students) to work together on a photo scavenger hunt.
During the scavenger hunt, students had a list of things to find related to two areas: 1) Features of the Demonstration Forest (logging symbols, varied aged forest, and other information found on the kiosks along the trials) and 2) Mathematical concepts found in nature (spirals, shapes, Fibonacci sequence, parallel lines, etc).  This was our transition day between the home activities and our camp time.  We wanted to make sure we hit all of the major content areas over the course of the week.  Reviewing math concepts and tying them directly to the science content was a natural fit for our curriculum (pun intended).  Another thank you to the parents who volunteered their time and hiked all over the trails with our students.  

Wednesday - April 11, 2012

Camp Cedar Ridge - Day One

“Wwwwweeeeee welcome you to Outdoor School; we’re mighty glad you’re here!  Hey! We’ll send the air reverberating with a mighty cheer.  Hey! We’ll sing you in, we’ll sing you out, to you we’ll raise a mighty shout! Hurray!  Hail, hail, the gang’s all here, welcome to Outdoor School! Yeeeehaaa!”

Wednesday morning we loaded our things and headed off to Camp Cedar Ridge, an Outdoor School site run by the North West Regional Educational School District.
We were greeted in song by our wonderful group of trained staff and volunteer high school counselors.  From the moment we arrived, to the moment we left, our students were smiling, singing, laughing, and learning.

Wednesday brought us the clones - the mysterious copies of the teachers - Bear Claw (Oldham), Bronco (Workentin), Willow (Nilsen), and Polar (Erickson).  Students headed out to their first field study with their homeroom class.  Over the next couple of days we would hit all four field studies: Water, Wildlife, Plants, and Earth.  We learned all of the camp rules (3 R’s and those nasty 3 S’s), dinning hall procedures, and even experienced our first campfire!  It takes a little bit to get into the routine of camp, but our students settled in well.  They quickly got to know their cabin 
counselors and their cabin mates, worked together during field studies, and traversed a night hike.  (As Willow would explain, “a hike….at night!”)  It seemed as if we had only just arrived before we were whisked away to our cabins for slumbering.

Thursday - April 12, 2012

Camp Cedar Ridge - Day Two

Thursday started early with a flag raising.  Students ate a delicious breakfast and then helped out with some niches (camp jobs).  The majority of Day 2 involved students participating in their second and third field study.  In comparison to our rainy first day, Thursday only rained about half the time.  The slight improvement was welcomed.  Students also had a little quite time after lunch and various times to spend with their cabin throughout the day.
Curious to see what students learned on Water, Wildlife, Plants, and Earth field study?  Check out our posts next week as students share their field study experiences.

Another camp activity that students found memorable was recreation.  “Sprout ball,” “Gnarly Hike,” Campfire class, basketball, the list goes on and on.  What fun!

Students spent time thinking about the impact they make on the earth at every turn.  During meals, listening to “Captain Conservation” skits, on field study, earning litter pocket doodles, composting, counting/weighing our food waste, and learning facts on field study all contributed to our student’s growing knowledge of environmental responsibility.

Thursday night’s campfire was E.P.I.C.  I wish I knew the number of students who said that campfire was amazing, or cool, or fun.  Not only did they fully participate in the silliness that is ODS campfire, we even had students practicing their performance skills.  MRA students were up front, leading, speaking, and singing in front of 
the entire camp.  Watching our students overcome their fears and embrace their spontaneous joy was one of my highlights of the week.

Friday - April 13, 2012

Camp Cedar Ridge - Day Three

Friday came all too soon.  Life seems to work that way sometimes.  Once you get settled in and living it up, it changes on you.  Students danced at habitat lines, participated in their last field study, and spent their last moments with their counselors.  

To end the camp, we had the honor of planting a tree on the campgrounds so that our students could feel and see the direct impact they can 
have on the world.  Symbolically it stood for the four field studies and how they each play a part in all aspects of life.  Three student representatives who exemplified the spirit of Outdoor School were chosen by the clones to help with the tree planting.

To send us out, as promised, the staff and student leaders sang to us.  They formed a tunnel and let each student run through.  The smiles on 
our student's faces were beyond priceless. It was a moment I hope they will always remember: how much the counselors cared and really wanted each of our students to feel special and appreciated.  

As we loaded the busses, our students started to sing, and sing, and sing.  In fact, they sang the ENTIRE way home. Check out the video below if you don't believe me!

What I'm basically trying to say is ODS was wonderful!  Parents, thank you so very much for letting us spend the time with your smart, creative, engaged, enthusiastic, fun-loving students.  I'm sure you're hearing lots of stories and memories already.  Students, thank you for being so wonderful.  We're all exhausted and somehow still jazzed about the time we spent together.  I think that says a lot about our students and the program itself.  We'll spend some time in reflection next week, but for now, just enjoy the after-exhaustion, because it is a sure sign of a good time.  I am so proud of all our hard-working, well-behaved, kind-hearted students. 

Thank you.  Students, get some good rest.  Parents, I hope to see you at the Auction tomorrow!


Posted in Homeroom Updates, Science Updates    Tagged with Outdoor school, Campfire, Field trip, pictures, Snapfish, Community, Memories/Good times


21 Comments

Savannah - May 24th, 2012 at 1:18 PM
I had a really fun time at outdoor school. I honestly had a better time than I thought I would. I learned a lot at every place we went. I learned how to save water at Ceder Ridge, I leard about resources in other countires at school, and I learned about (and took pictures of) plants at the demonstration forest. The best part of it was, I was having a lot of fun while learning a lot of things I never thought I would.
Wolverine - May 24th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
I loved Outdoor School! It was one of the best times of my life!!!!! Everyone there was very nice and extremely friendly... I miss Sloth and Wolfman, they were my favorite people there. Everything at Cedar Ridge was fun and I wish the time I had there had lasted a lot longer... I hope that for everyone else that MRA will keep going back there for many years to come. It was really the only real field trip we had at all year. It was really a time for us to get away from normal everyday schooling and be more relaxed... It was a time I enjoyed greatly
Taylor F. - May 24th, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Outdoor School was sooo fun! Even though it was my first time going I loved it. I can't wait for next year. I'd say the thing I'll miss the most is my counselors, Sloth and Wolfman. They were awesome. It was really fun hangin with them and I hope I'll see them again. They were so funny I got a stomach ache from laughing so hard!
Kyleigh - May 24th, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Outdoor school 2012 was the best one yet! I honestly went to outdoor school with not the best attitude. I learned to lose the attitude quickly and just let myself go. The counclers were so encouraging as were the camp leaders! I'm defiantely going to return to camp cedar ridge when im a sophmore because of the unforgettable experiance I had at Camp Cedar Ridge. I never wanted to leave! I will never forget the high school counclers becuase of how well everyone bonded. Thank you Camp Cedar Ridge!
Jared - May 24th, 2012 at 4:24 PM
Outdoor school was SUPER FUN! I also miss Rain and Wolfman. Everyone was nice there. At first when I got there I thought it was going to be boring but I was wrong. I had a BLAST. I hope everyone at MRA goes to Cedar Ridge.
Hunter E. - May 24th, 2012 at 4:28 PM
Outdoor School was really fun, exciting, amazing, and a one of a kind experience. Nobody left without saying that it was one of the best thing in the world, or learned something unique or something they would not learn any other place. I really miss Simba and Banshee. They were my cabin leaders. Outdoor School taught me the kind of soils and tree parts. I would of not learned that stuff any other place. The experience was like nothing else in the world. I can not wait till next year! MRA Rocks!
Chase - May 24th, 2012 at 4:32 PM
Outdoor school was SUPER FUN, one of the most interesting experiences of my whole life! It was was soooo much better than the first outdoor school. I wish we could have stayed the whole week. I will definitely volunteer when I am in high school. I wish some more people would have come. I bet they would have loved it. My favorite part was probably sprout ball or the meals.
Peyton - May 24th, 2012 at 4:49 PM
I had a lot of fun at Outdoor School. I also had the best cabin leader ever. My cabin leader wouldn't tell me what his name was, so I just guessed that his name is Alex. He said that was as far off from his name as you could get. The last day he said his name is Aleck! That was the probably the most fun I had camping. I want to thank the school for letting us go to Outdoor school.
Clancy - May 24th, 2012 at 5:01 PM
I'm glad I went to outdoor school this year. I had the time of my life! All the counselors were really nice and fun to be around. Campfire was the perfect way to end the day because it was so peaceful. The counelors always taught us things about nature in a fun way and I really enjoyed getting hands-on with the environment. I learned so many things at outdoor school that I will remember for a long time.
Nicole - May 24th, 2012 at 6:28 PM
Outdoor school was awesome! All of the counselors were so amazing and supportive, and I definitely want to go back as one when I'm in 10th grade too. I loved how we learned a lot, but still had a ton of fun! (The fact that there is a song for EVERYTHING there is awesome.) My favorite parts of the trip were the campfires at the end of the day, and the pick-up game of basketball we had during rec time. I also like the bus rides and getting to learn all about nature. I also loved lunch time. And breakfast. And dinner. (I LIKED EVERYTHING.) You are awesome, Camp Cedar Ridge! Thank you! :)
Brooke - May 24th, 2012 at 6:28 PM
I was a little skeptical and nervous about heading off to Outdoor School this year, but looking back I'm so glad we got that opportunity. It seems hard to believe that you can create such stronger, more memorable bonds with people in just one week, but I can honestly say that I knew my teachers, friends, and even myself better after those days we spent together. I think that's one of the great things about our school's mission of building community: it's starting to become second nature to us to build stronger relationships with people that are around us.

I loved my counselors, my cabin-mates, the singing (most of the time), the memories, and the things I learned. I've been inspired by the enthusiastic high-schoolers we got to get to know to try to come back to ODS when I'm older. I'd love to get the chance to pay it forward to a new group of middle schoolers.
This year got much better with the addition of ODS into the crazy jumble of memories. I think it will be a long time until I forget all the fun I had (and until I get all those songs out of my head). :)

Taylor H. - May 29th, 2012 at 12:46 PM
This year ODS was the best that I have had, granted the very first year I had to go home sick, so there wasn't much competition for first place. This year will not be topped.

I am glad that I chose to go. It was filled with so many wonderful memories: 'Willow and the Banana Slug Encounter', Sprout Ball, the councilors, and all of the crazy songs (plus the fact that there was one for just about everything we did.)

I am very excited for my Sophomore year, that way I can go back to ODS and give the next round of middle school students the best experience possible, like our counselors did.

Thanks Cedar Ridge!
Janet - May 29th, 2012 at 1:22 PM
This year was my first year at Outdoor school. I really enjoyed myself. I didn't go to outdoor school with the best attitude ever, but I warmed up to everyone there! I am not a very shy person but I didn't think I would love being at a school event like this. I am defiantly looking into going back and being a counselor in the 10th grade. My favorite part was campfire and cabin time! I loved this because it was a great time to get to know all the people you really don't hang out with on a normal basis. To be honest, it really drove me nuts to not know the counselors names (: It was a very memorable year and i am not to happy for it to come to an end.
Thank you.
Taylor F. - May 29th, 2012 at 4:38 PM
I have to agree with you, Janet, even though this was my first year I really enjoyed my self too. Unlike you, Janet, I am shy and I did like going. The only thing I didn't like that much was singing along to those songs. I am defiantly looking forward to going back as well. I was also thinking of becoming a counselor too, it sounds really fun. I am really sad we couldn't be there longer but there's always next year, and I can wait. :) I agree fully, Janet. You're so right.!!!!!!!
Sage - May 29th, 2012 at 2:35 PM
WOW Outdoor School was AMAZING!!!! :) Every one was so fired up and excited. We got to learn a lot. We learned so much over the week. I left with so much more experience and knowledge then when we came, but I felt we where treated at times younger then we really are. Yes we can be very immature. Other than that it was awesome! Our classrooms were mother nature. Personally I think all classrooms should be because really the reality is it will be gone, so enjoy it wile it lasts. If we're not careful, we will not be leaving future generations to enjoy it! So stay cool!
Emily T. - May 29th, 2012 at 2:50 PM
I liked outdoor school. I liked when we went to campfires and when we had dinner together with our friends. It was funny when Willow licked a banana slug. When we had field study and when we went to the night hike I had fun with my groups. We even had life savers that glowed in our mouths! I still remember that day when we went to outdoor school. I am not happy because I didn't want it to end. I miss outdoor school.

Thank Cedar Ridge!
Jasmine - May 30th, 2012 at 1:05 PM
I really liked outdoor school this year. I wasn't really looking forward to the first two days that were at school, but I ended up having fun building a dam and hiking around a demonstration forest. I was a little excited for the actual outdoor school itself, but I was also a little nervous because I have never been to an outdoor school site like that and I didn't know what the high schoolers would think of all of us. In the end, I am glad that the high schoolers were there because it is cool to see a group of kids that are so passionate for nature. I think I might go volunteer at an outdoor school site like that sometime with my friends.
Jarrett - May 30th, 2012 at 3:29 PM
Outdoor school was AWESOME!!!! Even though it was a 2 day trip ( you know 1st day was a half and the last day was a half) and I had a lot of FUN!! The counselors were funny, as were the songs we brought back to MRA. While we were there, we leaned a lot about nature: the soil, water cycle, and the geography of Oregon. We all leaned and earned a lot of beads for each subject in nature.
Evan - May 30th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
Outdoor school was so cool, and I loved it. I learned so much about nature and animals. My cabin leader was Grizzly. He was amazing. The best part was the food. I loved the chicken strips! Recreation time was fun also because we got to play basketball. I had a blast and I'm looking forward for next year.
Nathan P. - June 4th, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I really liked Outdoor School. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. My cabin leader was Rain. I liked how we got some free time to play basketball. (I think it's cool how the camp owner was a basketball player.) My favorite thing that I learned about was the plant study because we got to go adventuring in the forest. I really liked campfire but it was cold and rainy (and my legs got numb from the seats). I'm really glad I went to Outdoor School.
Chelsey - June 7th, 2012 at 9:18 PM
It was a blast, and next year I'm going to be a counselor there, expectiouly since I'm not stage fright as bad, so I can't wait to be one and go there again.
P.S. I'm still scared and grossed out about that slug I held, YUCK!!!

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