A steady mist hovered over The Salvation Army’s Camp Arnold as around 60 CCS sixth graders headed to their first class of the day. Camp Arnold, nestled in the outskirts of Eatonville, WA, housed sixth grade camp for three days, where the classroom is picked up out of Puyallup, Frederickson, and the Sumner-Orting Valley and dropped smack-dab in the middle of 670 acres of trees, mud and fresh air. The classroom was no longer filled with desks and textbooks, rather it was full of lessons of fire safety, team building exercises and canoeing. While camp is a place to make memories and burn off some energy, it does not hinder our students from learning valuable skills and building relationships with each other and the Lord.
Among other things, sixth grade camp is a great time to begin the transition to Junior High, which can be a challenging time for any adolescent; between the change of schools and combining of all three campuses, to the changes in life in general. Terry Broberg, principal at the CCS Puyallup Elementary campus explains, "Sixth grade camp has great value. Our students are able to step out of their comfort zone and build relationships with other sixth grade students before they even enter Junior High." Camp helps bring the students together while teaching them lessons that you may not find in the traditional classroom.
When many people think about camp, they think of summer camp as a child that was full of fun, fun and more fun. CCS sixth grade camp has its fair share of fun times, but it is not just about that. Our teachers focus heavily on making sure that our students are always learning. Jazmyn, a Puyallup Elementary student said, "The Campfire Cooking Class was my favorite! We learned how to cook over the fire, but we also learned important fire safety rules from Mrs. Manchester." Classmate Nishat added, "Canoeing was my favorite part. It was my first time and it was so calming and soothing. I learned how to paddle and how to be safe in the water."
The students may not be learning their traditional classroom curriculum, but they are learning all about vital skills that they will need in the future. Mr. Broberg explained, "The students get to experience things that don't always fit into their everyday lives. Some of these students are even sleeping away from home for the first time. These are experiences that they will always carry with them, which is why it is so important."
Sixth grade camp is a time for students to build relationship with their peers, grow with the Lord in a different setting and learn about skills that will carry on with them throughout their lives. Camp Arnold provides our students with an experience to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the outdoors.