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STRIVE Westwood Students Connect with Each Other and the Natural World

QuinzheeBuildingIn mid-March, the Mini Community Adventure Program (Mini-CAP) crew from STRIVE Preparatory Schools’ Westwood campus embarked on an overnight camping adventure in the foothills of  Colorado with the Cottonwood Institute. Highlights of the trip for the students were learning and practicing primitive survival skills, and simply spending time away from the city and within the natural world.

Throughout the week leading up to the camping trip, Mini-CAP focused some of their time in class on preparing for the camping trip. Jessi, the Mini-CAP Cottonwood Institute instructor, guided the class through packing lists, where they were going, and information on what to expect on the camping trip. When Saturday morning finally arrived, the crew excitedly rendezvoused at their school in Denver, loaded into vehicles, and drove to the Wondervu Camp outside of Golden. Along with the eight students and Jessi, were STRIVE Westwood teacher Mr. White, and Cottonwood Institute instructor Natasha.

Upon arriving at their campsite, the group kicked off their time in nature with a hike. While QuinzheeDiggingtrekking through the hills, the students learned how to read the landscape when it’s covered in a blanket of snow. Where are the lakes and streams? Where is the deepest snow? Halfway through their hike, the students all found a quiet space for a “sit spot.” The sit spots allowed the students to let the wildness around them truly seep in as they listened to the silence around them and looked out over the snow-covered foothills. On the hike back to camp, students learned how to track animals in the snow. They found a network of deer tracks and learned how to follow the deer in the direction it had walked!

The rest of Saturday was filled with more hikes, interactive survival scenarios, teambuilding games, sit-spots, fires, night hikes, and discussions. On Sunday, the entire group worked together to build a quinzhee style snow shelter!

WestwoodFVCDuring the weekend, the group took advantage of their special time together to create a Full Value Contract. A Full Value Contract is a set of guidelines created by the class, which fully values each voice in the group. It is intended to help the group discuss what a positive learning environment looks like in their class’ community. Jessi and Natasha helped the students take their Full Value Contract to a deeper level rather than just reciting “buzz words”: How can we be respectful of others? How do we know when we are communicating well? What does it mean to be supportive? In addition to helping create a cohesive class community, this valuable discussion laid the framework for a successful Action Project later on in their Mini-CAP class. Check back in the next few weeks for updates on how the Mini-CAP students at Westwood are changing the world with their Action Project!

Take a look at more pictures from their weekend adventure by visiting our photo site: https://striveprep.shutterfly.com/strivewestwood


Categories: Cottonwood Institute News, Notes From The Field, Updates

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