Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Outdoor Science School

My favorite week of the year is coming up! Outdoor Science School!

Every year we take our 6th grade class to LACOSS in Malibu, California for a whole week. Now you might be thinking...who would want to take 60 6th graders on a field trip for a week? Nine years ago I thought the exact same thing. I am so glad my partner teacher talked me into it because it is hands down the most fun I have ever had with students. (And that goes for every single year with every single group!)

The Malibu campus functions for LACOSS during the school year and as Camp Hess-Kramer, a Jewish retreat, on the weekends and in the summer time. The grounds are beautifully maintained and are positioned right across PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) from the ocean. We get to go to the beach everyday of our trip. That fact would be enough for me to sign up but, wait, there's more!

When we arrive at the camp the students are whisked off the bus and away from their school teachers. While we are there our function is to serve as surrogate mommies and nurses in the infirmary. That's it! The camp is fully staffed with outdoor education specialists and we bring along chaperones to stay with each group throughout the week.

Now that doesn't mean we sit around all day doing nothing...oh, no...we follow the kids all around the camp, taking pictures, hiking, asking questions and being students ourselves. It's a win-win situation.
My favorite part of the whole ordeal is seeing each student change from a homesick little to an I-can-take-care-of-me big within the week. It's an amazing transformation!
The camp is on the Monarch Butterfly migratory path...amazing sight!

If you want to check out the Malibu site, click the link below.

This trip is part of our school culture so all our kids know that in 6th grade you get to go to Outdoor Science School. It does not happen without sweat and tears. We start meeting with parents and fundraising in 5th grade. We have done all kinds of fundraisers because it is not a cheap trip. We have done car washes, sold t-shirts and discount cards, put on a haunted house, held numerous snack sales and asked for donations. Many times the parents pay the cost for their child through great sacrifice. Every year the price goes up and every year we beg for funds because we know it's worth it.
We also give up a week of time with our families to go and that comes with great sacrifice as well. But I have found it also brings some of the greatest blessings to my professional and personal life. There is nothing like it and I wouldn't miss it!



Mrs. Piper said...

Like you, science camp is my favorite time of year. We attend Pathfinder Ranch near Idyllwild, CA. It is awesome seeing the kids in the natural setting and away from their hard lives. They become softer and kinder, don't you think? Ours is coming up in the beginning of April. The kids are in panic mode wondering if we will raise enough money; I wouldn't let them fail for anything in the world!

Amy said...

Wow! I am so jealous of your science class, I really want to join in that adventure.

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