Saturday, September 11, 2010

Camp Joy

I have been gone the last few days, off on a strange and frightening adventure.

Yes-  I was -(Que spooky ominous music)- camping with 8th-graders!
Every year at the school where I teach, the 8th grade goes on a three-day field trip to Camp Joy, an outdoor education center near Clarksville, Ohio.
The kids got to participate in lots of interesting and unique activities...

... like learning to work cooperatively and trust one another...

 Here, students have to work together to untie the "human knot"...

The ropes course was probably the favorite. The kids really had fun with this, while being terrified at the same time.

A camp staff member comes to the rescue...

 Up she goes...

It was exciting watching their confidence grow... they challenged themselves to do things they thought they could never do...

and succeeded.

 I, too, had my challenges... living in this cabin for three days with 23 8th-grade girls and one brave mom.  Exhausting, but do-able.

The really unique thing about Camp Joy is the Survival on the Underground Railroad Re-enactment.  For about 3 hours, we got to experience a small taste of what it was like to be a slave, attempting to reach freedom in the north.  The realistic and historically accurate  re-enactment takes place on a part of the grounds that looks much like it would have in 1851.  I wasn't able to photograph the re-enactment (slaves didn't have cameras!), but here is the cabin where I was sold into slavery.

A gorgeous example of a re-constructed log house; right up my alley, if you know what I mean.

Camp Joy was an eye-opening experience in many ways.  This was a rare opportunity  for all of us to learn about slavery from the inside- sort of.  Our country still faces challenges that stem from slavery, and the next generations must still work to overcome them.  I don't think any of us will ever look at this period in our nation's history, or ourselves, the same way again.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.  –Eleanor Roosevelt


  1. You made me laugh when you said,,,scary music,,,but then I read on...what a great experience for these young kids...that is great to have them go through something like that and I bet really a memorable event for them all...including you and the "mom"...tooo cute....glad you survived!!!

  2. The joys of youth and optimism ; )

    Looks and sounds like great fun.

    Thanks for sharing the photos!


  3. This was a wonderful experience and once you shake off the cabin sleeping with all those girls the rest will be as a great story! To see young ones grow in courage is special and to see young ones grow in understanding (slave cabin) is pretty special too! Camp Joy...perfect name!

  4. Hi Cynnie- it really was pretty funny, me and the 23 girls; the worst part was there were only 2 bathrooms! Memorable, indeed!

    Coffee Messiah- It really was fun; glad you enjoyed the photos!

    Hi Mary Ann! I was very impressed by the quality of their program, and I think the kids did learn some valuable lessons. The hard part, as I said- only 2 bathrooms for 23 girls and 2 women! Who did that math?

  5. Tough but exciting!! Very brave of you. Did you get to go on the rope walk too?


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