June 8, 9 & 10th Mikayla had the pleasure of visiting Camp Orkila (website or blog) on Orcas Island with her 6th grade class.
Since the company I work for primarily sells products to schools, we get to use 24 hours of 'work time' to volunteer in schools... so here was my perfect opportunity to spend three days as a chaperon. The best of both worlds in this case.
The weather was fantastic.
The scenery was beautiful.
The kids had a blast.
The kids stayed in cabins that didn't have any doors. This meant that if you bring food into your cabin, it insures that you will be visited by raccoons during the night. Despite chaperon intentions, my cabin has raccoon visitors both nights. The upside was that it kept the kids quiet because they knew the raccoons wouldn't come if they were being noisy. ;)
Here is a picture of Mikaylas cabin.
It was located right on the beach. The view from there looks like this:
It was a perfect location (unless there happened to be a tsunami) and the sunsets were picture perfect.
The kids were put into activity groups that rotated through different challenges. All in all, the challenges were challenging but also enjoyable... except for Orienteering (learning to use a compass). That class just couldn't hold up against the other activities.
Our first activity was "The Big Swing". One by one (or in doubles if they wanted) kids were attached to a cable and the rest of the group pulled a rope to raise the swing high into the air. Mikayla was brave enough to get hauled all the way to the top. How high? I don't know... but I'll guess it's 100 feet. I've tried to highlight the 'top' in the photo for you (can you see the redish blotch?).
It took her a few tries to get the cable to release and then as she's hurtling toward the ground she screams "I'M FREAKING OUT!!". We laughed. She enjoyed it immensely and was all smiles thereafter.
Here she is after her swinging... still wearing her bouffant cap.
After the Big Swing they had an "Incentives" activity which involved some group teamwork events to accomplish one goal or another. They had fun, but not everyone was into the teamwork spirit just yet.
Next up was the Climbing Wall.
Mikayla climbed that thing like she was Spider Man (or Spider Woman).
This was followed by Orienteering. No pics of that event as it wasn't photo worthy, but reading a compass is a good skill to have.
Orienteering was followed by a game called Life & Death in the Forest. Again no photos, but it was a fun game played in the forest. Some people were Salmonberries who were hiding from the people who were rabbits. Rabbits tried to catch Salmonberries while hiding from the people assigned to be hawks.
In the last round I was assigned as the 'hunter/gatherer' and could capture anyone. Like I said, it was fun, but I almost pierced my nipple running into a branch of a tree. Yes, it's healing nicely, thanks for asking.
The final activity of the day was the High Rope Walk. In this activity two belay teams provide safety as one person climbs up a tree and walks across a thin cable to another tree, about 40 feet up in the air. Here is a pic of Mikayla walking on the wire.
The last activity was the Rope Bridge where the group had to work together to build a rope bridge between two trees on their own, through trial and error. With only a couple of hints they eventually figured it out and each one was able to safely cross it one by one. Here is Mikayla crossing the bridge.
Suddenly, camp was over and we returned back to the mainland.
Unfortunately, it sounds like this will be the last year that Little Mtn Elem. 6th graders will get the chance to visit Camp Orkila as the program is being cut due to budget reductions. Hopefully we can get it back into the budget by the time Alexia reaches 6th grade.