The Outdoor Education Experience: Now and Then

On Friday, September 2, 2016, the Class of 2023 went on the annual 6th grade retreat to Camp Carol Joy Holling, in Ashland, NE. On this trip, the 6th graders were able to participate in team building activities, get to know each other a little better, and grow in their faith. Beginning their day off in prayer, Mr. Wieting led the group in devotions, then split them into smaller groups and sent them off to their designated activities. Some went to the lake to fish and boat, others to the obstacle course where they experienced rock climbing and balanced high in the sky.  The remaining group had time for team building activities.

When asked about their favorite part of the outdoor education experience, the 6th graders’ responses varied. However, the majority indicated that the high ropes challenge course was the highlight of their time at the camp.  Canoeing and hiking were equally split, tying for second most liked activity.

For those that were able to go on the muddy hike, it was declared one of the most memorable parts of the trip. As students climbed up slippery hills, many got stuck and played in the mud. Other memories included: “Dropping my backpack and phone in the water” (Ella Prochnow), “Being with different people, not just from your homeroom” (Aaron Barnhouse), and “Being the first one to finish the challenge course” (anonymous), to name a few.

As affirmation to the leaders and to camp staff, there were many who answered that their least favorite activity was “going home”.

As the Class of 2017 looks ahead to graduation and their new adventures to come, they also reflected upon their time at Camp Carol Joy Holling in 2010. While many of the seniors remember very little of their outdoor education experience, what is remembered are things current 6th graders are still doing today. Canoeing, fishing, and the rock climbing walls were some of the most memorable things recalled. More specifically, senior, Garrett Stock recalls being involved in “a pretty decent sized food fight, before the teachers came and chewed us out.” Likewise, Evan Olander  talked about “going canoeing with Erich Carpenter and Josh Wenger and having to sit in the middle with water seeping through onto my pants.” Similarily, Leah Stevens and Henry Schmidt remembering teacher, Bob Krall, and student, Allen Lacroix, almost sinking a paddle boat.

The Senior Class coincidentally happened to be Mr. Wieting’s first 6th grade class at Lincoln Lutheran. In his interview, he recounted memories of “Little LA talking with friends, Gahan giving Mr. Krall dirty looks, Grant having lots of hair, Mr. Krall wearing khaki shorts and bringing coffee, and finally, hoping someone wouldn’t fall of out the boats, which no one did.” Mr. Wieting believes that the outdoor education experience is a great opportunity for kids to meet and connect with other classmates and learn about themselves, while enjoying God’s creation.

Both the 6th graders and Seniors alike, Camp Carol Joy Holling was an experience they would more or less never forget: full of friendships, both new and old, explorations outside of normal comfort zones, and the creation of bonds that last years.

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