As some of you may already know, I spent all of last week on a camping/backpacking trip with my crew. That’s right, 5 whole days with 12 teenagers. Our school is an Expeditionary Learning network school (we are not a charter school, though I think a few others are), and we are also an NYC Outward Bound school. These are two overlapping programs here in NYC that are pretty intertwined, one setting the tone for curriculum and management of the school while the other offers outdoor opportunities to help develop character in our students. This week-long camping trip to Sharpe Reservation (part of the Fresh Air Fund) is taken by all 9th graders with their crews (their homeroom for the next 4 years) and focuses on outdoors skills, leadership, communication and teamwork simultaneously.
New York couldn’t have been any more gorgeous for our trip. In 5 days, my crew and I backpacked for 2 nights (in the rain), completed 2 high ropes elements, 3 low ropes elements and hiked about 6 miles. In between, we sang songs, played games, settled differences, mediated drama (teenage hormones), learned how to properly poop out in the woods, laughed and cried (me – once, out of frustration). We couldn’t have done it all without our two incredibly patient guides, Bill and Julia. I owe them my gratitude for keeping me sane. I love the outdoors/camping and I love my crew. Those are two things that were completely mutually exclusive for me…’til last week. I survived!