On a warmer than average fall Friday afternoon, the Reese High School Out-of-Doors Club led about 80 sixth graders from St. Elizabeth and Reese Middle School out of the classroom and into the great outdoors. Each and every sixth grader learned how to kayak, geocache, use a compass, dog handle, and shoot a bow. Little did both the high school and middle school students know, they weren’t just getting out of class to have fun that day, but also receiving a quality, hands-on, outdoor education.
The sixth graders were broken up into four groups and traveled with a high school “nature guide” to the different outdoor activity stations, which were led by other high school students along with a few adult advisors. The archery station allowed kids to learn the proper way to shoot a bow and arrow, and each student even got to put their newly-acquired knowledge to the test and shoot a target. To cool off from the fall sunshine for a bit, kids also learned how to kayak in the local Reese pond. Once they learned how to hold a paddle the right way and to always wear a life jacket, they paddled straight for the fountain in the middle of the pond to splash around and get soaked. Next, there was the dog handling station, where a local outdoorsman brought his duck hunting labs, who demonstrated how to retrieve decoys. The students all had to chance to hide and throw decoys for the dogs to retrieve. Just when it seems as though spending the day outside couldn’t get any better, students learned how to geocache and use a compass, which when done correctly, led them to a giant bag of candy.
Upon interviewing a high school leader and a sixth grade participant, nothing but good remarks were given.
Question: As a leader of this event, what was the most rewarding part for you?
12th Grader: “Seeing the kids’ excitement as they approached each station for sure. For the most part, they were very attentive and eager to learn.”
Question: What was your favorite station, and what did you learn?
6th Grader: “Archery was my favorite because I don’t have my own bow at home and I’ve only gotten to shoot one a handful of times, so it was cool to do again. I learned the basics of geocaching and how to use a compass more properly, and that the pond water is really cold!”
Regardless of what activity the sixth graders were taking part in, they were smiling from ear to ear. Instead of having to sit still and learn in a classroom, they got to run around and learn how to have fun outside. As for the high school students who already knew how to do all of these activities, they gained skills in leadership, patience, and speaking in front of large groups. This not so average day in the classroom turned out to be a positive learning experience for all!
Marissa Trombley – YCC member – Saginaw