Fourth graders go Cuckoo for Camp

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Earlandez Young
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Bug spray and sleeping bags. Bright smiles and big laughs. No Game Boys or iPads. Camp counselors with nametags. Yummy sack lunches in brown bags. Turtles, snakes and high grass. Where kids can always have a blast. What place is this ... Camp Reed if you asked?
Michael Anderson Elementary School hosted its annual trip to YMCA Camp Reed. The overnight camping trip, held for fourth grade students, took place May 30 through May 31. This trip has been a school tradition for more than 30 years.

"This year's trip was one of the best yet," said Melanie Kilgore, who is the learning specialist at the elementary school and ninth year attending camp. "We have excellent presenters who lead eight different sessions -- all who have been with us at camp previously, and the camp counselors were enthusiastic, responsible, patient and had fun with the kids."

On the first morning, students were immediately split into four groups along with camp counselors. The swarm of 52 fourth graders rotated activities throughout the day such as art, where they designed camp tee shirts, attended an aquifer class and a science class, where they learned about animal habitats; and survival techniques, which was taught by Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape specialists.

Elliott, a fourth grader, said his favorite activities were between building an aquifer, seeing how fast clean water can become contaminated and wilderness survival.

"I'd have to say survival," he said with a grin. "I ate one beetle, two worms and a slug. The beetle and worms weren't so bad but the slug ... ugh!"

Students acting skills were put to test when they were handed skits to practice, before performing them after dinner. Michelle Hill, a fourth grade teacher, really enjoyed watching them.

"It was fun to watch their skits," she said. "Some of the most reserved students came out of their shells -- first it really surprised me."

The night ended with approximately 80 people made up of students, teachers and counselors, gathered around a campfire by the lake singing many campfire songs while sharing plenty of laughs.

After the campfire, it was LIGHTS OUT!

Awakened by a ray of sunshine the next morning, students had another day full of activities prepared for them.

Group two kicked off their day with a nature walk, which consisted of a hike through trees and other parts of the forest.

"The early-morning camping trip caught a few boys in my group by surprise, but they pushed through which didn't surprise me considering they all called themselves 'tuff guys'," said Senior Airman Kurtis Altenbach, camp counselor for group two.

Other groups performed water study by watching organisms under microscopes, listened to members of the Spokane Storytelling League tell interesting stories and performed team building exercises on the soccer field which was taught by Sandy Zimmerman, who teaches Physical Education at Michael Anderson.

"The kids were absolutely awesome," she said after a team building session with group four. "I didn't hear any complaining, just laughter. They brought great energy and positive attitudes."

At about 1:30, it was time for students, camp counselors and teachers to part ways with Camp Reed until next year, even if they didn't want to.

Sandy Peterson, a fourth grade teacher who attended the camping trip for the second year in a row, said if she could sum this year's trip up with one word, it would be "enjoyable."

"I was able to enjoy myself, and it was enjoyable to watch the students enjoy themselves," she said. "There were so many kids who wanted to stay longer, and I agreed with them. I was sad to see it end and look forward to next year."