EPHS students prepare ERE for outdoor camp

"U.S. Navey Seals" team paint flag with counselor Nick Sell.
“U.S. Navey Seals” team paint flag with counselor Nick Sell.

Six years ago Eagle Rock Elementary School launched its first outdoor education program. This year, on May 21, twenty members of the original group returned to volunteer as counselors. Now Eagle Point High School students, the returnees each led teams of approximately six fifth graders.
   
"Outdoor ed. fosters lots of memories and learning for me," said faculty member Mason Marshall, who along with Linda Saling will teach the subject. He listed some facets of what the project entails. Right now they’re in the preparatory stages, he said. Included in the coursework are social skills such as cooperation and respect.


Rain showers hindered the first day’s progress. "We’d started painting
our team flags outdoors, but had to bring everything inside," Marshall
said. The banners, square cloths roughly the size of card-table tops,
identify each team camping in teepees June 4th to 6th  at Ashland’s Box
R Ranch.
   
Sophomore Nick Sell’s group chose the name "U. S. Navy Seals" to inscribe with tempera paints on their flag. 
   
A
seven-girl crew co-led by junior Ryanne May, and sophomore Reena Cramer
selected "The Lolly Pops" as the name to adorn its banner.  Ryanne said
she wanted to volunteer this year because her sister Sydney is on that
fifth grade team.  Prior to the outing, the groups will write skits and
songs or chants to sing around the campfire.
   
"We’ll also
study trees, vegetation  in ponds, and geology," Mason said. "The
Historical Society will do a presentation about Native American culture
with them. Lots of hands-on planning has been taking place on the kids’
part."
   
"They get to pick three people they’d most like to
be teamed with," Saling said. "We can guarantee they’ll have at least
one of those three on their team."
   
Instead of "rules," Mason
prefers the terms "expectations," or "guidelines for success" when
dealing with such large numbers of youngsters. His teaching techniques
apparently work well for him. A sea of faces and small bodies milling
about, quickly came to attention when the teacher began rhythmic
clapping,  which everyone joined in unison.  "Freeze," Saling whispered
as one ten-year-old continued wandering about while Mason had the
floor. The girl halted, then turned her attention to the speaker.
   
Some
of the pupils’ moms have worked on mounting awards onto buttons.
Culminating the activities, a number of prizes await. Teams will vie
for such titles as "best campfire participation"-(singing, etc.);  best
original skit; sportsmanship; helping hand; team work; most
encouragement; most responsible; most  respectful, and cleanest teepee.
   
At the end, Marshall said, the teams come together as one. 
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent

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