This past week I had the honor to be a chaperone with my daughter's 5 th grade class for Horizon K through 8 class attending Outdoor Ed. What a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand the quality education our children receive from the teachers in the Boulder Valley School District. The children spent three days learning about the outdoors, but also learning about respect, friendship, leadership, and the power of putting others first.
100 Elk is located in beautiful Buena Vista Colorado and is your utopian vision of camp from your child hood. The facility is comprised of a Dining Hall meeting area surrounded by cabins with wall to wall bunks perfectly situated for nights of sleep interrupted every 10 minutes by sounds only 5 th grade boys can make and laughter that makes you smile from your toes to the top of your head. This is the setting of the lessons to be learned.
Respect they say is earned. Well hundred Elk and the teachers from Horizons gave the students wonderful opportunities to earn respect both from within and from their peers and quite frankly the most from me as I held back tears. As 10 year old girls cheered their friend in the leap of faith in the ropes course to helping each other carry luggage to the bus they stepped outside themselves to acquire the skills necessary to first respect themselves and then those around them.
Friendship can be a tricky and ever evolving word, 100 Elk helped give it meaning. Friendship is being quiet at dinner time so your friend can sit down and eat. Friendship is allowing your friend to borrow your spare rain jacket. Friendship is a hug when your friend is feeling homesick. Friendship is the love that was conveyed at 100 Elk by the Horizon Teachers Peter, Nel, Lauren, Sally, and Rex.
The teacher's leadership was fun to watch, but it was also great to see the kids move into the role of leaders. Each of the children did a great job defining leadership in the Eco Challenge. In the critical thinking exercise the children learned that defining a leader and set course of action allowed them to build a better solution. The most interesting paradigm was when the light went off that sometimes the best leader is the one who lets others lead.
All the great lessons where achieved by 100 Elk's, Horizon K through 8 and really what I have seen from our great school system as a whole. When we put other first we win.