My outdoor Ed experience
April 29- May 1, 2013
Outdoor Ed was a lot of fun! We had team building activities in which we would work together to achieve a goal. Some examples are fire building, Orienteering, Archery, and Aquatic study. Some of these activities were harder than others. This is because sometimes we didn’t plan ahead and my teammates had many different thoughts, skills and abilities. Overall outdoor Ed challenged us to think outside the box with the tasks we were given.
With the sun being out, the birds chirping and slight winds blowing I knew my outdoor ed experience would be fantastic. Right when we arrived at the Snake Road Adventure Center I knew that I was going to have a great time. There was so much to do! After we put away our clothes and other things we headed over to the big field. When we got there we played a game called the cross country scream. To play this game you needed to take two deep breaths and on the third you held your breath and ran screaming. After you couldn’t scream anymore you stopped running and the person that ran the farthest without taking a second breath won. This taught us that a team of people is stronger than one because if you saw a lot of people running and screaming at you it would be a lot scarier than just one person.
Then we got into groups according to our favorite animal, fast food place and the number of wheels on our favorite mode of transportation. The idea with this game is that you think before you answer because some people got into a group because their favorite mode of transportation had 4 wheels for a car. This was wrong because they forgot to include the steering wheel and the spare tire which would have made the answer 6. I thought this was strange because no one thinks of cars having 6 wheels. Then we played a fun game called aussie ball. In the game one team would throw a foxtail and then make a circle with one person running around the outside. every time that person made it all the way around the team got a point. Meanwhile the other team is retrieving the foxtail. Once they get it they get into a line and pass it in the pattern of over the head then between the legs until it gets to the last person in line which yells stop. The other team stops running laps and they throw the fox tail and the teams switch jobs. After we finished playing the game the counselors talked to us about how important teamwork is which makes sense because if everyone had been doing their own thing during the group activities we would never have finished. By then everyone was really hungry so we headed down to the main cabin and got some lunch. After that we headed to the playground to play some games. Once there we were put into our designated groups for activities. Next we got into our groups and played jump rope. In this version of the game, we had to run under the rope. One time our entire group had to run at the same time and we barely made it! After that we went to the teams course in the woods.
The first Teams Course activity we did was Amazon River where we had to swing across a rope and get our entire team across to a wooden box. First we had to figure out a way to get the rope in the first place so we tied all our sweatshirts into a long rope and threw it at the rope. This didn’t work because we always missed the rope. So we decided to just throw one sweatshirt and it worked! We then grabbed the rope and a person swung across and they threw back the rope. After a couple people made it over it got cramped fast. Then all of the sudden someone unexpectedly swung over and some people fell off and had to go back and re-swing. Eventually we got everyone over to the wooden box. I was very happy that we had gotten everyone across because in the beginning I didn’t think we could do it. Grace helped us solve the problem and Matthew was the one that did the more physical work. The purpose of this activity was to show how important teamwork is because if we hadn’t worked together we probably would never have gotten the rope.
The next Teams Course that we did was called Zig Zag. In this course we were given two wooden planks and you had to get your team to make it across to 4 different pedestals without touching the ground. Things that made this course hard where that the planks were different sizes and they were pretty heavy. People that weren’t on the pedestals and waiting for their turn acted as spotters for the people walking across the planks. The hard thing about this was it took people many tries to get from one pedestal to the next. We solved this problem by moving the planks constantly so that everyone quickly made it to the next pedestal. This course also took a long time because moving the planks was very hard due to the pedestals being so small. I learned how important teamwork was from this activity because if no one had cooperated when we needed to move the planks we never would have finished. Though this course took the longest out of all three, it was my favorite because we really had to communicate to make it work.
After we had gotten everyone in our group entirely across all of the pedestals we headed over to the next course. This course was different from all the others because it was a giant neon green net that was attached to 3 trees. The rules with this course were that you had to get everyone on your team inside the net. Also each hole in the net could only have 2 people enter from that same spot and then it couldn’t be entered again. If you accidentally touch the net when you are entering then you had to come back out and no one would be able to go in the gap you touched. How we solved this one was we figured out which holes we still could go through and got someone to go into that specific hole. The hard part about this was some people went ahead without telling and closed certain holes because they didn’t have us to tell them if they were close to touching the net. After we had gotten everyone inside of the net we had to get them back using the same rules we used when we had gotten in. This time was much easier because people had learned their lesson about going ahead and not telling anyone about it. I liked this course because it was harder than the other courses in a sense because you really relied on your team to make sure you weren’t going to touch the net. This course taught us how teamwork was important because if everyone had gone through the holes without telling anyone then all of the gaps would be closed up and the people that hadn’t gotten in yet would be stuck outside.
Once everyone had gotten out of the net we headed over to the gym. When we got there we were told that we had to invent a machine using everyone in the group. We decided to be a clock so some people made the circle surrounding the clock and the other 3 people where the hands inside of the clock. Once we had performed and all the other groups had performed as well we left to go get dinner. After everyone had eaten we went back to the gym to run some relay races. Once we had finished with the relays some people left to go on a night hike and others went back to their cabins.
We got up, had some breakfast and we were ready to start the day! The first activity we had was group games. When we arrived we started with a quick stretch and began to start playing games. The first game we played was monster in the middle which was pretty much sharks and minnows. The next game we played was ultimate nerf. In this game we started with the ball and if you are holding the ball you aren’t allowed to move your feet. To score points you have to get the ball all the way to the other side of the field. If the ball is dropped or intercepted it goes to the other team. I was having a blast during group games because gym class is one of my favorite periods in school. Another game we played is called Everybody up. In this game you must get the ball to everyone on the team to score a point. Once you have passed the ball you must sit down and while you have the ball you aren’t allowed to move from your spot. Everybody up was my favorite game because in this game everyone gets to play.
Once we finished playing games we headed over to the archery area. Once we got there we were told the safety procedures such as waiting until everyone had shot all of their arrows until we could retrieve them. Once we had gotten our arrows we had to hold them behind our backs so that if we fall we wouldn’t get hurt. Eventually we were allowed to go up and shoot at the targets. Each person got to shoot six arrows and then we had a contest. We were put into two teams and we shot one arrow each. The team with the most points in the end won. I really liked archery because I only have gotten to shoot arrows at camp and I think it’s a lot of fun.
When we finished archery we headed over to nature awareness. Once we got there we were given an acorn a rock or a piece of bark and told to close our eyes. Our object was then put back in the pile. Then we opened our eyes open we had to figure out which one it was by feeling the different textures. Next we were told to get into groups of 2 and pick a person to blindfold. Once blindfolded the partner was spun around until they didn’t know which way was which. Then they wandered aimlessly until they found a tree and they had to hug it. The partner was then taken back to the middle of the field and they had to figure out which tree they had hugged and then the other person was blindfolded. Then our hands were taped so that we were no longer able to use our thumbs so we knew what it was like to be a squirrel. Then candy was thrown all over the place and it was so frustrating trying to pick it up the candy without dropping it. Once our hands were un-taped we were given a whiff of mint scent and told that we were now pretending to be dogs. We went on a hike where we weren’t allowed to talk to each other but we could bark. We had to sniff around during the hike and if we smelled mint there was candy nearby. The hardest part about this hike was finding the scents in the first place because you never knew if the scent was there or if nothing was really there.
When we finished sniffing around we went back to the main cabin and got some lunch. During that meal I ate 2 bratwursts! Once we finished eating we headed over to the lakefront and we were about to start our aquatic study.
During the aquatic study we talked about macro-invertebrates which are very small organisms that can be seen without a microscope. Certain macro-invertebrates have different levels of pollution tolerance. So, if I found a macro-invertebrate that was intolerant to pollution in my water, I would know the water was pretty clean because those macro-invertebrate would not be able to live in dirty water. An interesting thing that I learned in general was that after the colonists had come and settled near lakes they started to get very polluted and gross due to human waste, the burning of fossil fuels and other gross things. Some cool things we did during aquatic study were actually getting to look at real macro-invertebrates, we did a test on the water in Lake Geneva to see if the water was clean or not, And finally we did a reenactment of the polluting of the water in lake Geneva in a small tub of water.
After that we headed over to the big green field to start our lesson on Orienteering. We learned how a compass works which is by turning the dial until the index pointer is pointing to the correct number of degrees. Once you have done that you turn around until the needle is lined up with the orienteering arrow on the glass and you will be facing the correct direction. The compass is able to work because the earth has a magnetic field and there is a magnet inside the compass. One of the activities that we did was we put a penny on the ground and we would be given different angles and amounts of steps so if followed them correctly we would end up back at our penny. The easy thing about Orienteering was taking the steps to set up the compass. The hard part was that during an activity where we had to navigate our way through the woods and come back on a certain trail you had make sure you were going exactly where you were supposed to be going or else you would get lost very quickly.
Once we got out of the woods we headed over to the fire building area. When we got there we talked about what we knew about fires already and the counselor showed us some different ways to arrange the wood such as tipi or lincoln lodge. We then went onto the blacktop were we made our fires. An important tip I learned is that you should use dry and dead plants instead of alive ones because they burn much better that way. To build a campfire you need to have tinder on the bottom which can be dry grass and leaves. Then you put kindling on top of the tinder which is small and medium sticks. And finally you add the fuel which is tree bark and big sticks.
Once we finished fire building we headed down to the playground and we played carpet ball. Then we went into the main cabin and ate dinner. After we ate everyone went back to their cabins and my cabin played card games. Later that night we all met at the fire pit and roasted marshmallows and told ghost stories until we had to go back to the cabins and get some sleep.
We got up early and packed our bags and got to play some carpet ball before breakfast. Then we headed over to the main cabin to get some breakfast before we went on the ropes course.
I was really excited to go on the high ropes course because during one year of summer camp in Chicago it was a privilege to go on the high ropes course. When we got there the first course I got to go on was the tire swing. You had to swing from tire to tire and lets just say that it tired me out (no pun intended). The next course I went on was a zipline and it was really awesome. When you had climbed to the top and jumped off of the platform I thought I was going to fall to my demise because there was about a 3 foot drop until you really started going. After that I got to go on this course were you had to balance across a wire and I kept falling so I had to rappel down because the person that had me on bulay was getting getting tired of having me jerk them up and down. After that I went on the tower (because my group got called a second time) and ziplined way farther than I had before.
After that we went on this awesome rope bridge that swayed constantly. Then we had to go and get some lunch. After we had finished eating we hopped on the busses and we were gone.
All in all I had a great time at Outdoor Ed. There were so many things to do I never got bored. I learned how important teamwork really is. I had a lot of fun doing archery, Orienteering, Fire building, and Aquatic study. There were challenges that we came along the way during activities but we put our heads together and figured out how to solve them without any arguments. Being at the fire pit or playing carpet ball I always felt relaxed and no one was ever in a rush. In the end Outdoor Ed simply let me be with my friends and have a great time.