- Kent School District
KSD Ignites a Unique Outdoor Education Camp Experience
The 175 acres of tranquil woods near Olympia, WA that make up Camp Solomon Schecter provides the perfect atmosphere for our KSD students to spend the better half of a school week building relationships with each other and participating in learning activities through OSPREY Camp. "This year is the first time a consistent outdoor school experience has been offered to all district fifth-grade students," said Associate Superintendent Randy Heath. The clouds and light rain falling in the morning weren't enough to dampen the students' spirits attending camp this past week, and it was easy to see how excited they were to start the day's activities, one of which included a hike around the serene campground.
Outdoor school "offers fifth-grade students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning of grade-level science standards while exploring the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest," Randy said. "Students will also benefit from the opportunity to practice a variety of social-emotional skills such as leadership, team building, and problem-solving.” In addition, our high school students serving as mentors for outdoor school have the benefit of teaching science, building their skills in working with elementary-aged students, and being exposed to career elements of teaching. They also earn CTE credit for being a mentor.
Alondra M., a fifth-grade attendee from River Ridge Elementary, expressed how much fun she is having at camp. "We have a lot of activities planned," she said. "I'm excited to learn about geocaching, watersheds, and different types of plants." She expressed that her favorite part of camp is hanging out in her cabin with her friends.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted KSD's outdoor school opportunities in 2020 and 2021. Before the pandemic, schools organized their own outdoor experiences, varying from one to three-day learning excursions at various locations in the area.
In addition to the benefit of students learning about the natural environment through outdoor school, "the social development aspects of OSPREY Camp set it apart from any other outdoor education program," according to their website. "Students unplug and take a break from cell phones, computers, and electronic games to focus on relationships with peers, mentors, teachers, and even themselves."
There is still time for high school students to sign up and train to be mentors for OSPREY Camp. If you're interested in volunteering, please visit our website to learn more.