Summer Camp Fun… and Learning?

Story and photos by Melissa Biggs, a graduate student in the Institute’s Master of Education program.

For my leadership track this summer, I was the coordinator of Concrete Summer Learning Adventure (CSLA), a summer camp program for Concrete elementary students run in partnership with the Concrete School District, Community Health Outreach Program at United General Hospital, Western Washington University and North Cascades National Park. CSLA was created to decrease summer learning loss over the summer, increase literacy skills and to provide healthy food for students in need in an outdoor setting. North Cascades Institute contributes by helping to coordinate the program, providing environmental education curriculum, and providing breakfast and lunch meals one day per week throughout camp. This year, the program ran for four, from July 10th to August 3rd.

Jillian and Cody are working together to measure 2 teaspoons of baking soda for Morning Glory Muffins – yum!

We were fortunate enough to be able to take the children on more than six different field trips, including one to the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center in North Cascades National Park! Most of the children had never been to the Environmental Learning Center and it was a wonderful feeling to see their reactions when arriving there. A few of the activities included: Plant BINGO, how glaciers are changing over time and how they affect Diablo Lake, and hiking.

The campers are learning about glaciers in North Cascades National Park and how the glaciers are affecting Diablo Lake’s color at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

Other field trips that students have experienced have included Sauk Farm, Cascadian Farm, Rockport State Park, Newhalem and Cedar Springs Farm. During the last week, they went to the Confluence Garden in Marblemount and the Community Garden in Concrete. The last day of camp was Family Day, where families were invited to join us for the day!

“I see a pollinator!” – Ashlyn, a 4th grader, observes a pollinator pollinating a flower at Cascadian Farm. She is excited because she just learned about the importance of pollinators!

Campers look for macroinvertebrates at Cedar Springs Farm in Concrete

CSLA just wrapped up and it has been such a rewarding experience. This is the first time I have been in a coordinator role and I loved it! I love being able to see the ‘big picture’ and figuring out the logistics of CSLA. I am so sad that camp has ended, but I am grateful that I was able to share the experience with these children. Moving forward, I will take the lessons and skills that I have gained from my leadership track and apply them to future job opportunities.

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