New Vista High School, a changemaker school in Boulder, Colorado is known for doing things unconventionally, out-of-the box, and in a style all its own. The CAP Spring 2017 class was no exception. Instead of the usual two overnights that tend to be standard in the the Cottonwood Institute CAP curriculum, we completed one overnight and two action packed field days.
Our first field day took place on a Monday. Songs like Monday Monday by the Momma’s and Papas and Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters have given Monday a surly reputation. This particular Monday went a long way to eradicating any negative Monday stigma. Who could feel gloomy on a glorious Colorado day in the mountains – temperatures in the 70’s, blue skies and Taylor Mountain as our backdrop. The perfect cure for the Mondays is to enjoy an extended “sit spot” in a luxurious grove of aspens next to a babbling brook watching the sunlight play on the newly forming aspen leaves. Other highlights of the trip included well crafted, artisan shelter building, lunch by Taylor lake, learning new skills for tarp shelters and, as a hallmark of this class, a few brain teasers. The mood was mellow and relaxing, the perfect cure for usual Manic Mondays (The Bangles).
Imagine walking up the Red Rocks trail from Settlers Park, minding your own business and enjoying the spring breeze, when from a crevasse to your right comes a cry for help. My students had “conveniently” learned about first aid assessments the day before in class, and sprung into action. Our patients (actors) had conveniently “fallen” off of the rocks just above them only moments before and were in need of medical assistance. After surveying the scene for safety and quickly assessing that the patient’s airway, breathing and circulation was all stable, they went to work discerning the signs, symptoms and concerns of their patients to find out that one had a broken ankle and was dehydrated and the other had a sprained wrist and was suffering from hyponatremia (a condition where you are depleted of sodium and potassium). Luckily, the patients (actors) recovered extremely quickly and were able to enjoy the rest of their hike!
Other highlights of the trip included a service project assisting Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) with weeding Scott Carpenter Park. OSMP doesn’t use any pesticides on any of their lands, so all weeding must be done by hand. The parks staff were extremely grateful for all of the extra hands. We were part of a larger Parks Clean Up day sponsored by the city. We also had a skills lesson learning how to create fires with bow drills and flint and strikers.
While unconventional in our approach, we had a fantastic time, learned new skills, and had great conversations about life and our place in it – all of the components of a successful CAP field experience!
Written by CAP class instructor Amy Kopkin-Atkins
Check out more photos from our trip here!