Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Of Algae, S'mores, Sunburns, and Screaming 7th Graders Part III

One of the things we had scheduled for the first night was a night hike, guided by two of the rangers. Some of the kids, those who were pretty much city-bred, were not wild about the idea of taking a hike, in the dark, without flashlights.

They also were having a heard time being really, really quiet.

The idea was to help them learn about how animals survive in the night. We didn't use flashlights so that they could let their eyes adjust and acquire their night vision. We whispered and listened quietly to the sounds of the forest in the night. We had them use their sense of smell to see if they could identify objects the ranger handed them.

We split the groups into boys and girls and Mrs. Language and I went with the boys who were a bit wound up. We found out later that they'd located a soda machine and were sneaking pops and energy drinks until we put a fake "out of order" sign on it.

Pretty soon, however, they were surprised at how much they could see and at how bright the moon was and how many stars there were. Our guide took us to a clearing and we played a tag game, in the dark, with one kid as the owl and the others as mice. The owl was blindfolded and the mice had to be as quiet as possible and sneak by the owl. This worked pretty well until some of the mice decided that throwing a water bottle at the owl would distract him and they could sneak by. The owl, fortunately, was fairly good natured even when the water bottle bonked him in the head.

The high point of the hike for them was getting to chew Wintergreen Lifesavers in the dark and watching them spark in each other's mouths. Talk about cool!

After we returned to the camp, we gave them a snack and tried to get them quieted down for bed. It was past ten, they'd been up, most of them, since six, and we were hoping to get them settled down and to sleep. After all, the grown ups were pretty tired as well.

The girls settled down fairly quickly (amazing) but the boys were another story.

They paid for it the following day however. Unbeknown to them, Coach had brought his megaphone. Morning was going to come very early for them.


Darren said...

Of all the things I remember from elementary school, I remember going to Sly Park for a week and staying in the Porcupine cabin the most. In fact, I remember it so well, and so fondly, that I served as a counselor for 6th graders on their trip when I was in 12th grade. And right after my college graduation, I spent a week there as a counselor for a summer space camp.

I was part of Porc Power all three times.

HappyChyck said...

OMG! You played to the detail to take them "sparking" during the trip? And the "out of order" sign just cracks me up! Sharp, sharp, sharp you all are!