Adventure Arkansas: Van Buren 4th Grade Camp

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Some of the best memories from our younger days happen at Summer Camp. A program within the Van Buren School District has been giving 4th Graders the chance to make those memories with their classmates since 2004. This week,  Sean Bailey takes us along as Parkview Elementary shows us their camp life.

For 3 days and 2 nights Dwight Mission Camp, near Sallisaw, brings what Van Buren 4th graders learn in the classroom to the outdoors. As Brayden explains the goal of Creek Ecology, it's their Science class held along the creek. "We’re trying to figure out if the water is fresh and clean. We found a ton of living creatures so we think that there’s a ton of living things in here."

The class quickly found out the creek is teaming with life, but also that they also got an A in catching crawdads. One students says, "35, We caught 35! Probably just stir up all the mud because they are all just hatching and if you stir them all up they won’t realize the net is there."

Water also provides room to learn new skills, as Asher Rowe canoes for the first time. "See how the paddle goes like this, well if you want to go backwards, and if you put it like this in the water, and push backwards. And then you do the opposite way to go forward."

Outdoor learning continues on land as campers also learn accuracy with BB gun target practice. Math is also incorporated as campers solve math problems in the cemetery on site. Other than a calculator, they get no help from technology.

Jenny Newman, Chief Counselor at 4th Grade Camp, explains, "And our kids never ask, 'when can I get on my phone, I need to do this on the computer?’ So many of our kids have never been outside, they’ve never shot a BB gun or rode a bike, so it’s just a wonderful opportunity they’ve don’t get at home.”

Some of the best memories come from the traditions in 4th Grade Camp, which include a shaving cream fight and a slip and slide. These are traditions C.A.M.P.  (Children Achieving Maximum Potential) counselors Clarke and Will Henson know all to well from their first trip to 4th grade camp almost a decade ago.

Clarke Henson explains, "It’s like a totally different experience. It’s still just as much fun when we were inspired by adults when we were kids. And now we get to do that for other kids and it’s really fun to be a part of it.”

Fundraisers and donations are a huge help in continuing this program for the 4th graders. You can find links below on how you can sponsor a camper at each elementary school.

Contacts To Sponsor a Camper at Each School:

City Heights Elementary: Mary McCutchen, mmccutchen@vbsd.us

Central Elementary: Amanda Ming, amanda.ming@vbsd.us

Parkview Elementary: Jenny Lincks, Jennifer.Lincks@vbsd.us

Rena Elementary: Jeannie Gray, jgray@vbsd.us

Tate Elementary: Leslie Wagner, lwagner@vbsd.us

King Elementary: Renee Risley, rrisley@vbsd.us

 

Segment Sponsored by: Adventure Subaru