Guiding the next wave: outdoor education

Senior+Madison+Heath+assists+a+fifth+grader+with+their+fishing+line.+This+was+Heath%27s+first+time+volunteering+as+a+counselor.

Riley Hyatt

Senior Madison Heath assists a fifth grader with their fishing line. This was Heath’s first time volunteering as a counselor.

With the lake straight ahead, the student counselors grabbed hold of the canoes that contained what would be part of their responsibility for the next three days, a pair of fifth graders, and gave the canoes a shove into the water.

Three days before fall break, 18 SHS students were been given the opportunity to volunteer as camp counselors at Camp Allendale.

By having to control and be responsible for their own group of kids and really taking charge of their activities for the day, students became leaders to these fifth graders, according to senior Carley Main.

“It gave us leadership in a sense of that we (were) responsible for the kids like as a counselor…,” Main said. “We had to control what the kids were doing.”

Camp Allendale is a Christian camp and retreat that has been providing camping activities like hiking and canoeing to Mary Bryan Elementary School for 25 years. SHS students have been able to apply to be  camp counselors for the past two years.

Camp Allendale provided counselor responsibility since they were in charge of the Mary Bryan students for three days. From morning until night, SHS students made certain that their group of fifth graders were exactly where they were supposed to be at the right time acting appropriately and courteously to their peers and their teachers. Mary Bryan teachers were only present for adult supervision in most cases, according to junior Skylar Clark.

“I learned how to work with them (and) help make it easier for them,” Clark said.

According to Main and Clark, they would not have experienced these qualities if it was not for the camp.Volunteering to be camp counselors gave the SHS students the opportunity to help out the community of Perry Township, according to fifth grade teacher Ms. Amanda Colbert.

Some SHS students at Camp Allendale got to help Mary Bryan students learn more about teamwork and how to do some camping activities. In a way, SHS students taught the fifth graders some qualities they might not have had before, according to the Executive Director of Camp Allendale, Mr. Randy Pim. The camp counselors got to help or see their group of kids catch their first fish, work together and gain other memorable experiences.

“The benefits for the Southport High kids is really just some personal satisfaction knowing that they invested some time into some children’s lives,” Pim said.

The overall experience of being a camp counselor was as fun for the SHS students as it was for the kids at Mary Bryan, according to both Clark and Maine.