The Lincoln School’s seventh graders journeyed to the New Jersey School of Conservation for a jam-packed trip full of outdoor fun. Mr. Matt Burke of Lincoln School and the SOC’s Program Coordinator Lisa Mills planned a wonderful experience for the group. Although the weather didn’t cooperate for all of the activities, the group was able to participate in a variety of classes. These included Action Socialization Experience (ASEs), Climbing Wall, Confidence Course, Fish Ecology, a hike to Sunrise Mountain, Survival, and Boating.
The seventh graders began their exciting trip with ASEs to build teamwork skills for the remainder of the trip—and beyond! Working together in groups, the students encountered a variety of challenges to solve. This required them to work on their communication, leadership, listening, and innovation skills. Building relationships with students they might not otherwise get to work with was essential. They were also asked to reflect back on their group’s progress, as well as some real-world applications for these skills.
At the climbing wall and confidence course, students were asked to challenge themselves physically and mentally. Both elements include discussions of confidence and the role it can play in our lives. At the climbing wall, the Lincoln seventh graders harnessed up and were given the opportunity to climb both the 20-foot and 35-foot walls. They cheered on their classmates as well as pushing themselves to literally reach new heights. The confidence course, although lower to the ground, also required students to muster up the courage to traverse a variety of low ropes elements. Additionally, they experienced spotting their fellow students on the ground and working on trusting one another. Students made great strides in both these activities and it was a pleasure for the staff here to see them getting out of their comfort zones.
Lincoln School then headed to the shores of Lake Wapalanne for fish ecology classes. After learning about the ecological importance of fish and how they are adapted to the environments they live in, the students grabbed fishing poles and bait and tried their hand at fishing. They caught both Bluegill and Pumpkinseed sunfish and all catches were logged by the students, noting weight, length, and any other notable features, before releasing the fish back into the lake.
Thursday morning began bright and early for the young adventurers as they hit the trail together to hike up Sunrise Mountain. Along the way, they learned about the flora and fauna around them, as well as about hiking itself. Even though it began raining in the middle of the hike, everyone persevered and made it to the summit, where they got to eat lunch in a pavilion built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Weather couldn’t slow down this group. After returning to campus, indoor activities included a fantastic, informative, and funny Touch of Nature animal show put on by Mr. Zelenka, and shooting off water-bottle rockets.
The next day was back to sunnier weather which was a great way to finish off the trip. Students trekked into the woods with Survival classes to learn more about the important skills needed to stay cool and calm in stressful situations. They learned about the four basic needs and how to process survival situations by slowing down, thinking, observing their surroundings, and making a plan. They were then given the opportunity to think outside the box and determine the items they thought would be the most useful if they were confused in the woods. Finally, the Lincoln School students returned to the lake in canoes for a boating class. They learned about how to use canoes safely and effectively and were able to enjoy a nice relaxing float on the lake to round out their trip. All of the educators and staff here at the NJSOC would like to thank the Lincoln School for a fantastic trip. Thank you especially to the teachers and chaperones from Lincoln who volunteered their time to make this amazing experience possible. We look forward to another awesome trip next fall!