For two sunny September days, Golden’s White Ranch Open Space served as a substitute classroom for 11 STRIVE Prep – Federal seventh-graders. With the many challenges of the trail, the theme of this trip was all about learning the importance of working together. We had our first lesson before we even made it to the trail; the obstacle of fitting gear into packs. With some persuasion students substituted their personal blankets and favorite hoodies for critical group gear like stoves, tents and pots. Once stuffed, some packs almost outsized their owners, so students asked a buddy to bear hug their pack while they secured it on their back.
After getting all packed up, the group began the mile uphill trek to the Sawmill campground. Initial doubts disappeared as students cruised along. The students collectively celebrated everyone’s arrival. To strengthen their teamwork, their instructor presented them with a fun game. They were challenged to pass a Frisbee, water bottle, sandal, pinecone and sock as in a set order as fast as possible. With better communication habits, they beat their initial time by almost minute!
The following day, the team helped the park ranger with some projects around camp. First, they made an old bench new again by all sanding it for just 3 short minutes. Next, they donned gloves and protective eyewear to dissemble a wood and water storage structure. Due to heightened fire risks, Jefferson County is prohibiting fires in their parks, so Strive began take apart this infrastructure. With rock bars and pickaxes, students loosed dirt around supports. Together they pushed and pulled the stubborn supports out of the hard ground. Once that project was completed, breaking camp and backpacking back did not even phase the strong Strive team.
See more photos from the trip here!
Written by Field Instructor Rose Conry