I am going to spend Thursday and Friday camping with 28 school kids and three other teachers – or in other numbers, two thirds of the entire school. We do this every year at the start so that the older kids can get to know their new groups and to start the school year off with a positive experience. In the past, the team did most of the prep work, but this year – in line with our goal to promote more self-sufficiency in our students – we handed the organization of the trip over to them.
This morning they had to decide which of the five groups they would join: Campfire, Raft Building, Lunch, Dinner, or Afternoon Game(s). Then each group met and talked about what they had to do, what supplies they would need, and where they would get them. For instance, the campfire group will be gathering the wood, cutting and stacking it, starting and tending the fire. They will need saws, an axe, paper and matches. Or the cooking groups decided what (vegetarian) meal they would cook and listed what they need: ingredients, knives, potato peelers, dish-washing liquid, plastic bowls, etc. Four of the five groups were efficient and already seem to have things under control. I was supervising the one inefficient group: Afternoon Games.
I started off by suggesting they choose what type of game they wanted to create – maybe a quiz rally, or a treasure hunt, or a forest game like Land Art, or maybe orienteering with a map . . . . ?
They all started talking at once and I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying, but it seemed they were already planning the stages.
“Wait a sec!” I interrupted. “Don’t you need to choose the type of game first?”
“We did already!” They told me. “We are doing a Forest Orienteering Treasure Hunt Quiz Rally.” The tone was ever so slightly huffy – they obviously thought I was a bit slow on the uptake. So I leaned back and let them go back to work. Every so often I couldn’t help myself and piped up.
“I don’t understand . . . how is that supposed to work?” . . . . . . . “But if this is a race, then don’t you need more than one?” . . . . . . . . . “It would be cool to send them over the border into Hungary, but I think you should probably keep things within a 10 or 15 minute range of the campsite.”
We ran out of time and agreed to go on with the planning tomorrow, but here is the list of the materials they need so far:
balloons, a shovel, string, a screwdriver, neon-colored paper, bow and arrows, a locked box and key, gold coins, a princess costume, a hedgehog.