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Camp We A Success!



Sixth-grade students at West Branch Middle School attended Camp Warrior Experience (WE) at Beaver Creek State Park.

According to teacher Janie Morckel, students no longer go to Camp Fitch due to the cost.

The sixth-grade staff, which included Morckel's husband Dale, looked into taking the students to Beaver Creek. "The staff there was very helpful and receptive to teaching lessons," Janie Morckel said. "They incorporated our standards that we follow in the state of Ohio and continued our desire to integrate outdoor education."

There are about 160 students in sixth grade; half of the students went on Sept. 22 and the other half on Sept. 23.

Prior to camp, students tie-dyed shirts and traveled in groups according to the color of their shirt. There were six groups, and these groups rotated through six activities. Two of the activities were at the Pioneer Village at the park.

Friends of Beaver Creek State Park, a preservation and education organization, provided volunteers to instruct the students on pioneer life. The first session was at the mill, where students were shown its operation. They were taught about forms of energy and energy transformation. The second activity was a visit to a pioneer schoolhouse.

"Students enjoyed learning how schools were run years ago and made some comparisons to their present school day, but found out there were many changes," Morckel said.

The students also visited the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center, where individuals from the Soil and Water Conservation Service provided their expertise about stream life. They went creek walking and hunted for macroinvertebrates -- snails, crabs, crayfish and insects -- and studied them. Dale Morckel talked to the students about rocks and minerals, and the culminating activity was a scavenger hunt searching for different kinds of rocks.

At the nature center, the students observed about 400 taxidermy preserved animals and Jim Kerr, the instructor, talked to the students about how and where they lived and how they respond to their environment. Students also went on a nature walk and observed various plants and animals native to Ohio.

Kim Lewis from the Mahoning County Green Team instructed students on proper recycling of their low-waste lunches. All paper products and aluminum were recycled and the food waste was composted.

Camp/technology activities were held at the school for the students on the day they didn't go to Beaver Creek.

The students who remained at the school enjoyed technology projects such as blogging taught by Rachelle Ring and a graphics project instructed by Lori Schleuter.

They also made iron-on T-shirts under the direction of Ryan Bailey. Jessica Tomko taught students how to design and make lanyards. They participated in cooperative learning/team-building activities provided by Becky Hobbs and John Hancock. The students spent the night at the school; boys in the middle school gym and girls in the Beloit Elementary School gym. Evening activities included dancing in the gym and a bonfire. Denise Ginocchi and the cheerleaders led cheers for students to learn.

Roger Kitzmiller provided hayrides and Matt Manley coordinated all activities for Camp WE.


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