Outdoor Education Builds Connections and Culture Outside Classroom

The Outdoor Education experience for Shorewood Intermediate School seventh-grade students is a unique tradition in the Shorewood Schools. Started in 1982 by a handful of teachers, Outdoor Ed, as it’s been nicknamed over the years, is a two-day, one-night fall camping experience for all seventh-grade students, held at Camp Whitcomb-Mason in Hartland, Wis., which is run by the Boys and Girls Club of America.

This year, seventh-grade students ventured out to Camp on Thursday and Friday, October 3rd and 4th. Students received the full camp experience complete with sleeping cabins, meals together in the Friendship Lodge, nighttime campfires and a variety of outdoor daytime activities on rotation. The activities fluctuate from year to year, but there are always six options available. This year, students enjoyed disc golf, a scavenger hunt, goal setting, canoeing, Capture the Flag, and a high ropes course.

The students had a great time and you can view a glimpse into their experience by viewing the Outdoor Ed 2019 Album.
Outdoor Ed is designed to give students the opportunity to build a positive school culture and develop new peer connections through a variety of community- building activities. It promotes interaction among students from Lake Bluff and Atwater elementary schools – as well as any District newcomers in seventh grade – who are coming together for the firsts time as classmates. The camp environment encourages them to learn about each other as they work together to reach goals.

“It’s so important for students to also connect with teachers outside of the walls of the classroom,” says SIS seventh-grade teacher and 17-year Outdoor Ed veteran Sarah Kopplin. “We’re still in a learning environment but it’s a different type of learning. You have beautiful trails, trees, lakes; you observe different types of ecosystems; and you actively experience nature at its fullest. Students get to see their teachers and each other in a different light, and are able to relate on a more personal level. Since we have [the students] for only two years [at SIS], it’s vital for bonding to happen early on. It sets the tone for the remainder of their time at SIS and into high school.”

outdoor ed pic