Monday, May 24, 2010

Camp is done and over with for another year, likely the last year. With all the staff reductions in the middle school over the past years, it becomes more and more difficult to put together the camp experience each year. Even now that we've gone to 2 days instead of 3, the planning and prep work is overwhelming. Add to that an aging staff, the reality that 7th grade camp is a thing of the past is quickly setting in.

This year was AWESOMELY amazing from my standpoint. We took such a small group of students - 39 middle schoolers, along with 8 junior counselors. Just the crowd control of such a small group made everything seem easier. Thursday was hot and sunny and miserable to be doing anything outside so we ditched our last 2 class sessions and let them all swim instead. The water was freezing cold so early in the year, but they loved it anyway, swimming for a while, then warming up on the grassy bank or under the pavillion.

They ran and played, fished and laughed, ate and told stories, sang at the top of their lungs, roasted marshmallows, soaking up every moment of the camp experience. I watched and laughed along, saddened, knowing this would be that last group to experience this after 33 years of camp tradition.

Education seems to be headed down a scary road to me. One where kids don't matter as much as policy. One where high stakes tests matter more than character building. One where it's about the end result instead of the process.

The powers that be seem to have forgotten that kids matter, that we are creating futures in our schools, futures we want to be strong, with compassion and empathy, not just bubbleable knowledge. It's no longer about what's best for kids, but what looks good on paper.....

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