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Final Reflection Paper, by Brittany Salley-Raines

Weekend Overnights: This aspect of the class was by far my favorite. Being able to get away from school and home life stresses was truly a treat. There was much preparation for these trips, including menu planning, packing, and of course lesson plans that Ford had to make. Many of the skills we learned I was already familiar with, but nevertheless it was great to get a refresher. I am glad that I was also able to learn some new skills. For example: the lean to debris shelter, cordage, animal tracking, rescue scenarios, and a little bit about edible plants. Highlights of the two trips were harvesting dandelions and eating the delicious salad, blind drum stalk, capture the flag, friction fire, and the time at night when we all just sat around the fire and talked, sang, and relaxed. I really appreciate everyone who was in the class and the contributions they all made. For the most part I felt that there was a very positive and cooperative attitude throughout the entire group. This made both trips so much more enjoyable. Not only did I learn technical skills like fire building, bear hangs, shelters, tracking, etc… I also practiced the social skills needed to create a functioning and happy group. I will of course use all of the skills I learned again. All of the technical skills will be put to excellent use this summer when I go camping, and I am sure that the social skills will continue to be helpful to me whenever I am in a group of people. I will also be able to build upon the social skills and expand what I already know.

Action Project: I thought our Action Project was a huge success. Everyone got along so nicely and we all accomplished quite a lot. Before we did this project I was not aware that all storm drains led to Boulder creek, that washing your car could be harmful, that dog poop was polluting the creek, and that Boulder creek is very heavily loaded with bacteria. These are all things I probably wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for our Action Project. Our projects included: stenciling and decaling storm drains, a creek clean up, and education at the Farmer’s Market; not to mention the two articles that were written about our class. I think the best part about the Actions Project, and something that only CAP can provides, is that it gives high school students a voice. I do believe that we can create positive change just as effectively as an adult can. Others might be skeptical in the beginning, but it has been my experience that adults and peers alike end up admiring you for taking an active role in the community.

CAP As a Whole: I have learned so much from my experiences with CAP. I am more confident now that I can make change and contributions to society, even if I am in high school. The Action Project really helped me to develop this mindset. It also taught me that I can have fun while doing something that helps my community out. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be a part of CAP because it isn’t something that every student in Boulder has the opportunity to do. It makes me feel so good that I know how to survive if I were ever to be lost in the wilderness and that I know how to reduce my footprint while camping. Not everyone knows these skills. I am also really proud of myself and the class, as well as our accomplishments with the Action Project. I kind of feel like we are representing all of our peers when we go out to places like the Farmer’s Market and interact and educate our fellow members of the community.

Ecological Footprint: To minimize my ecological footprint I am currently doing the following things: recycling, being vegetarian, using environmentally safe household cleaners, buying organic and local whenever possible, reuse plastic bags, and buy recycled aluminum foil. This is all that I can think of right now. I also do some things that aren’t too great for the environment. The biggest one is that I definitely use a lot of disposable coffee cups and throw them away. This is definitely something that I need to stop doing and a step I should take to reducing my ecological footprint. I also like to take long showers. Not only does this result in high water bills, but it also wastes water. I could also stop doing this. Composting is also something that I want to start doing at my house.

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