February 10, 2013

The way camp should be



Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center has four major subject areas: living history, natural sciences, team building and high adventure.

“Each of those is broken down further,” DeGroat said. “For example, high adventure could be the rock-climbing center (The Crux). It could be the hikes the students are on today on the High Peaks. It could be local hikes on Sugar Loaf Mountain or Bear Mountain or Rattlesnake or Pok-o-Moonshine. It could be the mountain-biking classes that we teach, canoeing, kayaking snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.”

The natural sciences encompass sensory, winter ecology, pond ecology, forest ecology and wildlife ecology.

“We have our living-history classes,” DeGroat said. “We do a simulation of the Underground Railroad that’s very popular. We also do a simulation on the Revolutionary War. We also do homestead demonstrations where we go down to the 1812 Homestead at the end of the road. We take them through a schoolhouse lesson; a wood-shop lesson; hearth baking; candle making; a tour of the inn, which was built in 1813. We do all our living-history simulations down at the Homestead to give the kids a more authentic feel.”

Team building is an important area where campers learn skills in communication and teamwork.

“We go up to our Low Ropes Course and work on facilitating group interactions,” DeGroat said. “We go to our Teams Course, which is very similar to the Low Ropes Course, but it has lower elements and usually requires a little bit more strategy. We have what we call action-socialization exercises, and those really can be done anywhere. They just focus on making the participants work with each other and learn from each other and learn how to work with each other to get through whatever frustrations that they may encounter to achieve a goal.”

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