Now I see the secret of making the best persons; it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

-Walt Whitman

Camp Pendalouan provides a wonderful outdoor educational experience for children, youth,and adults. Our class traveled to the Montague, Michigan camp on February 12 and 13, 2004. The following was the core of what we tried to accomplish at Snow Camp 2004 with 21 fourth and fifth grade students:

  • strengthen the relationship between teachers and students
  • give students a sense of independence and self-identity
  • introduce students to healthy outdoor pursuits, and encourage lifelong participation in outdoor activities
  • provide students with an opportunity to learn, share, and succeed in a hands-on, non-graded environment
  • allow students to better understand and respect the outdoor environment and their relationship with it
  • foster a sense of wonder and inquiry in each student
Rachelle led us into Sleepy Hollow shortly after we arrived on Thursday morning. The legends she shared transported us over the "devil's trampoline" and through the woods to the tales of a "speak easy" and the Purple Seven Gang. The snow was packed deep and the hike provided a wonderful preview of coming attractions.
Our sack lunch and a warm hearth awaited us in the lodge. Afterwards, cross country skiing and challenge activities allowed our return to the winter wonderland of the YMCA camp in Montague.
During Native American Life Fair, we played a variety of outdoor games including flinch ball, tomahawk throw, buffalo robe, and knee tap. We also gathered inside a wigwam to hear stories about Michigan native tribes.
Appropriate outdoor gear is essential for Snow Camp. Such gear also includes a "super-soaker" for some of the Gold Rush robbers (adults). Students teams needed to rely upon their orienteering training and compass skills to successfully locate nickel, copper, and silver mines.



Kenny DeCan, Tommy DeCan,
Ben Orling, Ben Petersen,
Chris Velarde, Brody Whiting,
Molly Cooke, Ellie Holman,
Rebecca Shay, Alyssa Switzer,
Sarah Tibbe, Baylee Tuggle




Tyler Coffman, Ben Jacob,
Victor Marez, Noah Sherlock,
Laura Addison, Carly Foote,
Emily Francart, Leighlyn Jacobs, Natalie Meyers

Friday evolved into a blustery winter day and the challenge of "survival" in the woods proved worthy of our team efforts. Finding tinder and kindling for the fire seemed easy compared to keeping the flame alive. Only half the teams conquered the challenge.
We want to thank all the parents who attended Snow Camp with us and the staff at Camp Pendalouan for all their hard work. Lastly, we want to say farewell to Lori Willson, Outdoor Education Director, for her 9 years of dedicated service to outdoor education at Camp Pendalouan. We will miss working with her!