| Dru Falco

William Smith’s First Ever Overnight with Cottonwood Institute!

William Smith overnightCottonwood Institute had their first overnight trip (EVER!) with William Smith High School in late April. 15 students headed out to Camp Patiya outside of Boulder. The group was excited to get started and began to assess the area for hazards, areas to play, kitchen set up, and more. 

Students set up their campsites and made sure to make them feel cozy. With rain forecasted, the group was sure to stake down their tents and create a well-set up area. As the group discovered Camp Patiya, they noticed different types of scat, tracks, and evidence of animals. Using field guides, it was clear that there was scat from rabbits, elk, deer, and possibly coyotes. It was exciting to know that we were in the presence of so many different animals. It led the group to ask questions about how to track animals beyond scat and tracks. The conversations led us to play the always fun game of camouflage. Students put their skills to the test- hiding behind rocks, trees, in the grass, and on the ground. After several riveting rounds, students hiked back to camp to begin their wilderness skills. 

William Smith overnightGroups had several different stations they rotated through to practice and learn new skills. Several students excelled in whittling arrows, while others practiced mini-debris shelters. The debris shelters went through several “tests” including 3 W’s: wind, water, and weight taste. All student shelters passed the wind test and several others passed the water and weight test as well. Students reflected and noted that in order to waterproof a shelter it takes careful planning and implementation. 

Before indulging in a delicious dinner, the group found the MUST PLAY Gaga Ball pit. The Gaga Ball games became competitive with new winners every round. After the final game, everyone was hungry and ready to learn stove safety, kitchen techniques, and cleaning procedures. Pad thai peanut noodles were on the menu tonight, so students cut and sauteed ingredients and made sauces from scratch. It resulted in a delicious meal with plenty of flavors. 

William Smith overnightThe group ended the night with a warm campfire where we told stories, reflected on the day, and shared thoughts with each other. The sky was cloudy and the stars were hidden, but it made for a great night of sleep for rejuvenation for the next day. 

The following day, the group drove to Walker Ranch to hike the South Boulder Creek. Despite being unable to do the entire trail due to weather, the group agreed it was a beautiful site. After hiking at a new location, playing games. Identifying trees, and eating lunch, it was time to head home after a busy overnight trip!  Thank you William Smith for a fun trip!

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