Bugs, hikes and fun run hand in hand at Camp Eder

May 22, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

Editor's note: Staff writer Jennifer Fitch is spending the better part of Wednesday and today with Fairview Elementary School fifth-graders attending Outdoor School at Camp Eder in Adams County, Pa.

FAIRFIELD, Pa.-- The girls' screams about mud and bugs had all but stopped by the time the sun set over Camp Eder on Wednesday.

Still going strong, however, were the squeals of excitement from the fifth-graders.

Many children reported getting fewer than six hours of sleep on the night before the start of Outdoor School.

"I stayed awake until 12 o'clock because I was too excited," Gaylin Leizear said.

Four classes from Fairview Elementary School in the Waynesboro (Pa.) Area School District arrived shortly before noon at the camp in Adams County, Pa. Students toured the camp, learned the names of various buildings and settled into their cabins.

Girls from Bobbi Blubaugh's class grabbed their cameras and hopped off the bunk beds to embark on a nature hike. They met their male classmates for lunch before trekking into the woods.


An early part of the hike, guided by Marcia Roan, took the children up a sharp incline. They only had taken a few steps when rain began and winds strengthened.

Complaints worsened with the weather.

"I thought (the trail) was going to be wider, more fun and less dangerous," Courtney Baird said.

"This is more exercise than I get in a soccer game," Destiny Ridenour said.

Good spirits ultimately prevailed; they were best demonstrated when the first students to reach the summit cheered on the ones who were struggling.

Once at the top, Roan used a stage nestled in a clearing to talk about trees and today's detriments to their growth. Students learned about tree diseases and the results of ice and rain storms.

"You need wood to make a lot of the things you use every day," Roan said.

She pointed out plants and animal tracks along the trail, although the highlight of the nature hike proved to be a turtle spotted by a teenage chaperone. Students snapped pictures of the turtle before discovering mushrooms nearby.

"There's a fungus among us," said Mike Bercaw, Fairview's school counselor.

Children with KO (kitchen opportunity) duty served drinks and cleared plates after the group finished chicken patties for supper. They then headed outside for various games and scavenger hunts.

"I got to do KO duty. That was fun," Hannah Rowe said. "I had to clean food up."

The fifth-graders whispered about plans to tell ghost stories and use flashlights as light sabers in the cabins overnight.

Outdoor School continues today and Friday.


The Herald-Mail Articles