The students are here! The students are here! The students are here!
After a long winter break, visiting schools have returned to the New Jersey School of Conservation, and what better way to start than with the bright, energetic students of Rumson Country Day School! Arriving in the late morning on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, fifty 6th graders from RCDS started their visit with a campus-wide tour led by their long-standing teacher and group coordinator, Mr. Tom Scott. In addition to Mr. Scott, there were eleven additional chaperones including teachers and parents.
Soon after their tour, the students headed over to Piney Point to begin their Action Socialization Experiences (ASEs) – a key team building activity which fosters healthy communication, problem-solving skills and comradery. The students were then divided into five educational groups and over the next four days rotated through a variety of NJSOC field classes including Survival, Climbing Wall, Orienteering, Water Ecology, and Conservation Photography.
In the mornings, Mr. Scott led early morning hikes and allowed students the opportunity to have quiet, solo reflections in the woods. This time for reflection was a continuing theme throughout the week as students spent several quiet moments in the afternoon journaling in the cabins. In the evenings, students enjoyed several activities including Web of Life, an ice cream social, Zumba workouts, a raptor program, and a variety dance. Unfortunately, the campfire and night hike were rained out.
I had the chance to talk to Mr. Scott to ask him more about Rumson’s 35+ year history with the NJSOC. He himself has been coming for 20+ years, and as always, he found this year’s stay to have gone very well thanks to the great communication and well-organized, efforts of NJSOC administrative assistant, Lisa Mills. When asked if he noticed a difference in his students after the visit to the NJSOC, Mr. Scott emphatically replied, “Yes!” He said that their time at NJSOC gives each student a greater sense-of-self and the opportunity to learn to be more independent. It is also a time to teach the RCDS students how to bond in a group and peacefully coexist with one another. In Mr. Scott’s final comments he reflected that these trips always leave a lasting impression on his students; each year as the trip date draws closer and closer, the students from previous years share stories and memories of their time here at the NJSOC.
Thirty-five years of quality environmental educational experiences, and counting...