Monday, January 23, 2017

Rick Weatherhold and the Outdoor Education Camp

Rick Weatherholt, Seward Middle School Counselor, presented the program at Kiwanis today. He told of an "Outdoor Education Camp" that has a 30 year history. The program had its start in the Milford Campground and is now held at a site near Ashland, NE. It is a voluntary, 3-day program for 6th graders held a few weeks after the beginning of the fall term. For many of the students, this is the first time they have spent overnight time other than with family. Many High School students who experience the program are chosen to serve as counselors to the 6th graders in carrying out the many activities. One of the interesting things that was shown on a short video involved a competition between rows of some 10 students. They held hands and passed a Hula Hoop down the line in an attempt to do so more quickly than the competition.
The campground includes cabin type facilities for bunk beds with a newer, more private building for the girls. In additions to the HS Counselors, many of the former teachers voluntarily serve as instructors. The have a "family dinner" the 2nd evening of the Camp which gives the parents a first-hand view of the facilities and a feel for the activity. Bruce Dickenson was the Counselor ahead of Rick and he brought in a speaker from the Lakota Tribe to speak at the parents event. It proved very popular and Rick has continued to do so. All indications are that this continues to be a very vital part of participant's education. There is a $25.00 registration fee/student with much of the expense being covered by local contributions. The school provides some in-kind help like bus service, but no direct funding.

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