28 Sep

Learning about each other outside of the classroom

Over the past 15 years, Summit Public Schools have developed a few traditions. None more cherished than the annual camping trip for students.  

Toward the end of every summer, the faculty, and a myriad of parent volunteers, embark on a two day excursion with the students. This annual event is often cited by alumni as central to their Summit identity and involvement with their campus community.

Bringing faculty, families and students together and enjoying the great outdoors that Washington state offers is a great foundation for our vibrant and growing school communities. Highlights certainly include delicious food, listening for owls and watching the stars at night, a game of flag football, songs by the campfire, and s’mores, of course. But what make this camping trip unique, is teachers using a shared experience like camping as a method for building community and school culture.

We’ve found that the simple act of camping gives students an opportunity to expand outside their comfort zones and get to know each other deeply. For many of our students this is their first time going camping. Many say it’s one of their favorite experiences at Summit.

Over the course of two days, faculty members lead students in self-discovery and team building activities. The work is balanced with lots of fun activities, culminating in a student-led talent show. This year’s showcase included origami skills, beat boxing, dancing and magic tricks.

At the end of their trip, students attending Summit Sierra in Seattle’s International District, expressed their gratitude for their peers, faculty and the families for making the camping trip a positive experience. Asked about her students’ experiences, Katie Bubalo, principal at Summit Atlas in West Seattle, said, “We are so grateful to have such a warm, welcoming community here at Atlas.” She went on to add, “It truly takes all of us to make it happen–students, teachers, family, and community partners. We can’t wait for our next trip together!”

Have you had an experience that helped you expand outside your comfort zone and grow? Tell us about it the comments below.

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