Music Director Sandi Green (right, with guitar) leads CMS sixth graders in some campfire songs during Outdoor School. PHOTOS PROVIDED/ SHIRLEY BURRUS
Building birdhouses, painting rocks, examining owl pellets, riding a zipline, campfire skits performed by staff, campfire songs led by Music Director Sandi Green, and more provided Creswell Middle School sixth graders with unique educational opportunities during Outdoor School, held April 30 to May 3 at Grove Christian Camp in Dorena.
The adventure was made possible by the Outdoor School Lottery Fund Initiative, which was approved on the Nov. 8, 2016 Oregon ballot (Measure 99) as an initiated state statute. The initiative created an Outdoor School Education Fund, supported by state lottery proceeds, dedicated to outdoor school programs.
”Thanks to the passage of Ballot Measure 99 in 2016, CMS had Outdoor School for the first time since 2003,” said CMS Principal Shirley Burrus.
Volunteers from the US Forest Service, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council and the Bohemia Mine Owners Association provided a full day of engaging and entertaining instructional lessons, and CMS staffers led art and recreation activities for students. Creswell High School students also assisted.
Students stayed overnight in Camp cabins.
”Many parents adjusted their schedules and helped by volunteering to chaperone student cabins overnight – and in addition to CMS staff at camp full-time, many more came up to help with supervision and lead activities,” Burrus said.
In addition to scheduled activities, Burrus said students reported spending quality time away from school, cabin time with friends, ”great meals” and ”a new game they couldn’t get enough of: Ga-Ga Ball” – a variety of Dodgeball played with just one ball – as some of their favorite things about Outdoor School.
”As a result of collaborative efforts by CMS staff, parents and community agencies, CMS sixth graders were treated to a fantastic educational experience,” Burrus said.