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Grade Six Outdoor Ed Camp 2019

GRADE 6 OUTDOOR EDUCATION CAMP 2019: TRIP TO BE PROUD OF!

Our annual Grade 6 camp to Hastings Lake was another resounding success!  On Monday, June 3rd we ventured deep into the woods 18 km west of Tofield to encounter nature and grow as individuals.  The students were amazing, the supervisors tremendous and the parent volunteers were quite frankly, outstanding! Our camp was a huge success story; and a camp that each and every camper will remember for the rest of his or her life. This year we had schools from Edgerton, Irma, Hughenden, Chauvin and Wainwright Elementary.  We had a total of 98 students come to camp and enjoy everything that camp life has to offer.

Sometimes students and parents can get a reputation.  Students don’t listen; parents don’t give of their time and just sit back and let others do it. Well. . . I would like to let our entire school community know that we had an incredible time at camp and it was due to incredibly well-behaved students, fantastic supervisors both at the sessions, and overnight supervisors and our amazing kitchen staff.

First, the students . . . they showed up for camp ready to listen (most of the time, although they did lose two bags of chips to the supervisors because of this) , learn and begin the adventure.  

Secondly, the supervisors. . . they show up , some early, some off the bus, and some the night before.  They come prepared to tackle 98 excited kids and to make this the best camp experience a student could ever have.  They are prepared, nails and screws, paint for the birdhouses; kindling and bannock supplies; archery bows ready, targets secured; gun safety targets cool and interesting; WOW – surprise – bringing knowledge and foresight, music machine loaded; canoes portaged over to the bay; paddles and lifejackets ready; swimming pool, ears open for the wisdom of an Indigenous elder; drama skits organized and compasses aligned for orienteering.  It all comes together quickly and each group heads to their stations. Introductions are made; instruction is given and then let the students enjoy the moment. Breathing in fresh air and taking in the smells and the noises of the great outdoors. A camp is not just a camp but a great, wilderness awakening camp, comes from passion, zest and zeal for life. The instructors bring their best. They want to connect, to make a difference.   They want to have the same amount of fun as the students who they are instructing and who they are teaching something new for the first time. The supervisors of the sessions take it to the next level. They are not just putting in time; they are truly making a difference.

Another person giving back to her community is Jill Hall who graciously gave up her time away from her family to come and assist us at the camp nurse.  She took her job seriously and made sure all of the campers were looked after. Mrs. Hall would put on a band aid, talk campers through some tough times and was there to complete all of her tasks at an extremely high level of competency. This modeling of citizenship by our adults helps to foster growth and development in all of our students.

What about the WHS Grade 10 Leadership Group.  They arrived at camp at approximately 3:30 on Monday and proceeded to relive their fond memories of camp.  They rushed off the bus and you could see and feel their excitement as they raced to see what cabin they were in only four short years ago.  They often commented how much smaller camp seemed now that they are older. To their leaders, a WES Salute goes out to Sandra Grunow from WHS.  Mrs. Grunow had her son Luke graduate the weekend before but she was such a trooper in coming out to camp on adrenaline and coffee. This group of 22 students took all 98 campers and ran them HARD for two straight hours of fun, exercises and team building.  You could literally feel the energy and synergy on the field as parents and supervisors watched in amazement. Where else would you want to be but having a blast at camp!

Supervisors who made a difference:

Archery – Darren Groskyl; Canoeing – Sean Pullen and Carmen Ford; Birdhouses – Tara Gwinn, Mike Smith and Jenny Thompson; Swimming – Stefani Litwin; Gun Safety – Dusty Ermel and Shane Tipler; Medicine Walk – Elder Alsena, Mabyn Grinde and Alexandra Brice; Firestarting and Bannock Making Lareen Watson and Gord Hoffman; Drama Skits – Shari Doetzel, Marian Priebe and Karen Scherbinski; WOW Surprise–Sydney Snow and Colby Hinton; Orienteering – Shawna Tainsh and Lara Ledger;   WHS Leadership Group: 22 Grade 10 Students along with Sandra Grunow. As well our WES secretarial staff for assisting me with writing cheques and paying bills from camp. Your assistance and patience with me is greatly appreciated.

And thirdly, the parents:  Wow! Where do I start? First off, Mike Smith for donating the fuel, time, and energy to bring a covered trailer (Smith Builders) to camp and back with our student supplies.  Michelle Schneider was once again huge for our camp as she picked up all of the grocery supplies and made two trips to camp with her vehicle as well as staying and being our leader in the kitchen.   Mrs. Schneider had tremendous assistance from: Kristy Mclean, Danielle McClennon, Robin Leighton, Cheryl Stafford, Natasha Spillett, Bobbi Marriott and Bobbi Blumhagen who donated their time and extreme energy for the entire camp.    Our overnight supervisors: for both days (toughest job at our camp): Girl Cabins: Tracy Radies and Sheryl Tipler, Boys Cabins: Aaron Whitten and Shane Straty.  These supervisors stayed up from 11 pm to 7 am to ensure safety and security for all of our students.

A huge thank you goes out to Vault Pipelines for freeing up Dusty Ermel who ran our gun safety session. Vault Pipelines also donated fuel and a truck for us to bring our gun safety supplies to camp.  

Mr. Gary Ezinga who has graciously given of his time to running buses back and forth for us of a number of years.  He takes students there, brings bus back, then reloads leadership students and takes them to camp and brings them back on Monday night.  He returns on Wednesday and loads and brings them back safely. We appreciate his generosity over the years and thank him. To Bison Bus who is hired to bring the other bus to camp and get all of our campers home safely.  

Last but not least to Mr. Darren Grosky at Irma School for cutting out the pieces for our birdhouses.  

When you add up the hours of work at our little camp you are truly appreciative of the parental help to pull off such a venture.  We, at our Edgerton, Hughenden, Chauvin, Irma and Wainwright Outdoor Education Camp, could not etch lasting lifelong memories in the minds of our students without this gracious assistance from parents.

Last, but not least, funding for camp.  Our camp receives donations from Wainwright On Wellness for our healthy snacks.  They have been a strong supporter of our annual camp each year. Your support is greatly appreciated.  Wainwright Elementary Parent Association (WEPA) who donates field trip dollars which assist us in keeping our cost to the students down.  

In closing, I would like to recognize all volunteers at our camps over the years.  Each year we have people who “step up” and give of their time to make our camp both memorable and affordable for all to go.

The old saying “Pay It Forward” always rings true at our little camp and each and every year it seems to get better and better.

Our kids rock and so do their parents, teachers and volunteers!

Dale Mitchell

Grade 6 Camp Coordinator

14th year and running

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