Giving is part of the Shady Creek experience
Last week, while everyone else was in class, 14 Marysville High School students participated in a five-day excursion to Shady Creek Outdoor School. This camp, the successor to Woodleaf, provides an opportunity for sixth-graders to study life science outside the classroom. Naturalists and teachers guide them on hikes and in discussions of ecology, survival, adaptations and utilizing the senses.
Students also get to play games during recreation, create and perform their own skits for a talent show and sing and dance to a lively, eco-oriented band during music time. These sixth-graders are thrilled to have a chance to break up their monotonous routine for a few days and to learn in a new environment with new people. As counselors, MHS students got to share in this beneficial experience.
Sept. 21 through 25 was Shady Creek's opening week. Some of the schools attending were Foothill, St. Isidore and Browns Valley. Many of the counselors attended one of those schools in junior high, so the week was a chance for them to give back to their old school, their old teachers and the community at large.
Some had other motives for volunteering. Kaitlin Mazzei, a senior who also went to Shady Creek last year, said that any time spent working with kids was good preparation for her. "I want to be a teacher," she said, "and spending a week as a counselor teaches me how to help kids with different personalities work together. It's a skill I will need in the classroom."
Ian Crane, also a senior, said, "I like being involved. Volunteering is just something I do."
Though not in class, the week was still a lot of hard work for the counselors. Mornings started bright and early, and days were full. Counselors helped their cabin group get ready, eat meals, go on a night hike and do chores in the cabin and the bathroom. They led recreation activities and went to some classes with the students. Sometimes, they managed to squeeze in a shower.
Despite being extremely busy, the students managed to enjoy their week. "It was a lot of fun," senior Angela Findley said. "I liked getting to know the other counselors and helping the kids have a great experience."
Evan Lingenfelter, a senior, said, "It's hard to handle 12 kids at once, but I would definitely go back."
Shady Creek gave Marysville High students an outlet to serve their community and to learn something about themselves. The high-energy week was well worth the make-up work facing students upon their return to school.
Karah Kemmerly is a senior at Marysville High School. Her column appears about every sixth week in Education.