By Ely Schosek
Each year, the 5th grade students from both Springville and Colden elementary schools are presented with a unique opportunity: a field trip to Camp Odosagih on Lime Lake in Machias.
For most, their first overnight field trip.
Springville Elementary (SES) will be going June 11 to 14. They have two separate days because the group is so large.
“It’s nice to have smaller groups,” said Stephanie Sullivan, the main coordinator of the event.
Preparation begins with securing a date that works for everyone. June means lots of school activities and events and a busy month for staff and students. Following picking a date, the teachers must meet with parents.
“We usually create a packet for parents and students,” Sullivan explained, which includes permission slips, costs, dates and other important information. The staff must also take care of room assignments, money collection and completing paperwork prior to the trip.
Planning begins the year before the trip, so that means the date for next year’s trip is already set.
“I like to have the paperwork into the Board of Education by March,” said Sullivan.
While they are on the trip, the students participate in many fun activities. This year, they will be tie-dying t-shirts, fishing, kayaking, going on a scavenger hunt, participating in team building activities, painting rocks, going on a pontoon boat ride and making s’mores by the campfire.
Sullivan noted that they try to keep the activities the same each year, but kayaking is new to the list this year.
“We got approval a couple years ago and our teachers/community members allow us to borrow roughly 10-15 kayaks to take on the trip,” she said. Tie-dying is also new to the trip this year.
“In the past we have had different speakers come in,” Sullivan mentioned, such as the police department to give a presentation about police dogs, and Earth Spirit to discuss the different plants/animals from the area. “In the past we have had the kids make bracelets (some might choose to do that this year as well), a teacher taught yoga early in the morning and we’ve had relay races.”
Seeing as this is the last year that this group of students will be in the elementary school, this trip can be seen as a way to celebrate that. It’s also a great opportunity for the students and teachers to bond outside of school, as well as for students to see their teachers from a different perspective and the teachers to see their students in a different environment.
The rooms are set up like hotels, according to Sullivan, with air conditioning and private bathrooms.
“Even though we call it a camp-out, we aren’t in tents,” she explained. “I don’t think I could convince teachers to stay in a tent for two nights, especially if it rained.”
Sullivan said that students from past years have always loved the trip and she hopes it’s something they remember for the rest of their lives.
“Students should be prepared to have fun and keep an open mind to try new things,” she added.
The staff who attends the SES trip includes all of the 5th grade teachers, one physical education teacher, an art teacher and a school nurse.
Mrs. Wnuk, school nurse, has the students role play first aid scenarios, the PE department plays Frisbee golf and Mrs. Szpaicher, art teacher, has the students paint rocks.
“The entire trip entails a lot of behind the scene work and teachers to volunteer their time (overnight for two nights) for this to happen, but in my opinion it is completely worth it,” Sullivan said. “I love being able to spend time and build memories with students outside of school. It’s priceless!”
At Colden Elementary (CES), planning for the camp-out is headed by CES Principal, Marcole Feuz and David Broom.
“Planning consists of what activities to do at Campout, putting the students into groups that will work, and ordering and finding supplies to bring to Campout,” said Broom. “Camp Odosagih is extremely hospitable and the staff is incredibly nice and accommodating and the food is fantastic.”
Overall, the 5th grade camp-out is a great way for students to celebrate the end of elementary school and take part in unique activities with their friends and teachers.