| Andrew Miller

AXL Academy CAP Students Gain New Experiences, Perspective at Cal-Wood

AXL Acadrmy Fall Overnight 2019Students from Aurora Expeditionary Learning (AXL) Academy’s Community Adventure Program (CAP) class packed up their bags and spent Thursday and Friday out of school, cell service, and their comfort zones at Cal-Wood Education Center in Jamestown, CO.

The group pulled out of AXL Academy singing along to the Lizzo song “Truth Hurts” on the radio, a fun bonding experience that set the tone for a fun drive to the campsite. After putting on some layers and exploring the Mica Mine Campsite, the students split into groups and set up their tents with Leave No Trace in mind. They prepared and ate lunch, solved a teambuilding challenge quickly, and put their teamwork to use with a service learning project to help Cal-Wood.

For their project, students worked together to build slash piles made of down logs and branches. These piles are made up of material that could act as fuel for a forest fire if left alone. The piles are built in open spaces in the forest and burned during the winter to reduce the risk of wildfires at Cal-Wood. Check out the photos to see the difference they made in two hours!

For the rest of day one, students hung out around their campsite to make dinner, collect wood for a campfire, start the fire without a match or lighter(!), make s’mores, and share their thoughts about nature and their connection to it. The first day was full of challenges, but it made for a fun-filled second day.

AXL Academy Fall Overnight 2019When students woke up Friday morning, they packed up their gear and tents, had breakfast, and went on a short hike to the Mica Mine. As one of the students (Gema) said, “It looks like forest glitter!” Mica has many uses, from electronics to plastics to makeup and much more. Students got to step inside an old mining hole and be surrounded on all sides by forest glitter. After that short hike, the group went back by the campsite and drove towards the exit of Cal-Wood for one more hike.

The students and instructors made their final push uphill to a spot called Longview. When the group got there, reactions of “Whoa!” “That is so cool!” and “It looks like a painting!” echoed through the hilltop. After a photo shoot, students found their own area for a sit spot to tap into their senses and reflect upon the trip with a wide view of the mountains and forest.

Through the hikes, the service project, the meals, and the bonding time, all 12 students engaged and encouraged each other to have an amazing and memorable trip. The excitement ran high even after all of that and singalongs rang through the van on the way back. As we drove down Abilene Street to return, “Truth Hurts” came on the radio again. One truth that doesn’t hurt—nature is a fun escape that these students appreciated from start to end.

Written by AXL Academy CAP Instructor Adam Fedyski

See more photos from the trip here!

Categories: AXL Academy, CAP, Community Adventure Program, Program News

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