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The Camp Collins Experience

The Camp Collins Experience

We in Opal 4 are so lucky to have had the opportunity to have our overnight experience at Camp Collins.  As the teacher in the Opal 4 classroom, I ask myself, what about that experience should be kept alive for my students once we’re back at school?

How will Camp Collins set the tone for our year together?

How can Camp Collins support the enduring understandings that frame the intentions in our curriculum?

How can we use our time on the ropes course to explore how we are coming together as a group and how we are coming together to lead and inspire others?  

How can our time on the ropes course help us practice being grateful — for each other and for the experiences we have?

How will the goals and agreements we set for our community before we left influence our time at Camp Collins?

Will we meet the biggest goal we set for ourselves, to have fun?  And if so, what will that look like?

At Camp Collins, we are all asked to take risks, to step outside of our comfort zones, and support our peers to do the same.  Every individual is responsible for the success of the group.  How can we translate those experiences into what happens in our learning community?


With these questions alive in my head, I was ready to listen and to observe our community in action.

At camp I saw children supporting each other in inspiring ways.  Inviting each other to try out new challenges:


HH:  RC, do you want to do this with me?

RC:  Sure.

HH:  Hold the rope so there is tension.  It worked when KB did it this way.

RC:  Should I make it lower?

HH:  You’re fine.


On the low ropes course challenge, the students got to choose how many times they thought they would need to touch the ground to get through the course.  Many of them chose very low numbers, 2 or 3 falls, but TW asked for six.

AW touched the ground.

TW:  AW, you can have one of mine (ground touches)

AW:  Thanks!


HH took a risk to go out on a balance element alone to reach the dangling rope.  She fell.

TW:  HH, I can give you a fall.

HH:  Are you sure?

TW:  Yeah!

HH:  Thanks!


One of the Opal 4 students moved slowly across the swings while the rest of the group moved on.  When the group realized that one of their members was still standing alone on the swings, they went back over the course (without touching the ground) to get him.


We held a gratitude circle after our day on the ropes course and had a chance to thank each other.

I’d like to thank…

DO:  My group for paying attention.

MG:  MM for helping all of us get around the rope.

TW:  HH for inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone and AW for being my buddy at breaks.

KB:  ET for saying, “You did great!” when I came down from the Grapevine.


And we made time to just have fun.


Boys vs Girls Capture the Flag




Songs and Skits


Wandering the camp grounds in the early morning hours


At the end of our time at Camp Collins, we sat down as a community to share our highlights and reflect on our time together.


I asked the group:

Do you think that if we can name that special feeling that seems to exist only at camp we might be able to take it back to school with us?

RC:  Independence

AW:  It’s an energy.

ET:  Each other.

EY:  Every single person was friends here. 

Now our work will include working toward this new goal, toward finding that energy where ever we are together, and remembering how good it feels when “every single person is friends.”