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CAP Class Goes Backpacking: A Weekend of Connections, Reflections, and Campfire Banana Boats

cap40groupIn September of 2014, Community Adventure Program (CAP) students at New Vista High School embarked on their first overnight backpacking trip of the quarter! Led by Cottonwood Institute (CI) instructors Katie and Sandy, the group of 10 students hiked up the trails at White Ranch Park in Golden, Colorado. Once arriving at their campsite for the night, the students immediately sauntered off to the hills and forests to find a sit spot. With sights of Denver to the east, the wild mountains to the west, and the intricacies of nature all around them, students came back from their sit spots feeling an energized and refreshed sense of place.

cap40fireAfter working together to set up camp, the group went for an afternoon hike to explore more of the trails. Along the way, instructors and students wondered at the local plants and geology of the area. White Ranch Park is an ideal location to begin understanding how the Front Range holds such a diversity of plants and animals. Eli, a student leader and former CAP student, found a perfectly forested area to lead a fun game of Camouflage.

Back at camp in the late afternoon, Sandy taught the students several ways of making fire, beginning with bow drills and ending with flint and steel. Jake and Noah came so close to “busting a coal” by working together: Jake using the bow and Noah holding pressure down on the spindle. Sydney did a little victory dance when she used flint and steel to light a cottonball on fire. As students slowly added kindling to the tiny cottonball fire, the fire grew and soon the coals became hot enough to start dinner. Dessert was among the highlights of the trip; everyone had a least one s’more and about half of the group indulged in campfire banana boats! The group enjoyed an epic sunset over the mountains, while playing guitar, beating drums and pots, and singing songs around the campfire.

cap40sunsetStudents rose early the next morning by the warmth of the sun, and started a fire for breakfast and pine needle tea. After packing up camp, the group played a few games, explored off-trail, and took a final sit spot. During the sit spot, students tried to hear the quietest possible noise around them in the forest. Birds beating their wings, aspen leaves blowing in the breeze, squirrels darting from branch to branch, and insects crawling nearby.

cap40hikeIn the final group reflection before hiking back to the trailhead, students created a small nature sculpture to represent what they want to take back with them to school. Many students voiced the value of patience, unplugging from technology, teamwork, leadership, and taking ownership of their learning and experiences. They are excited to implement some of their lessons learned to their action project in CAP. Stay tuned for updates from this fall’s CAP class at New Vista as students take action in their school and community to address genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Check out more pictures from CAP at New Vista High School: https://capatnvhs.shutterfly.com/pictures


Categories: Community Adventure Program, Cottonwood Institute News, Program News, Updates

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