It's all gotta go somewhere

Volcano Overnight School

As you know all the classes at school do an overnight fields trip; starting with 1st grade, the kiddos go without their parents. Last year the overnight was at the Zoo (Zoo Snooze) and this year the intrepid teachers took the kids to “Volcano Outdoor School” at the Mount St. Helens Institute, where they slept in the heart of the “Blast Zone.”

Beforehand there was much prep: waivers were signed (death possible!), lists were made, items were packed and repacked to enable D to carry all of his gear on his back, and still carry his sleeping bag in a hand. Jeff had to go to San Fran that week so it was up to me to undertake the send-off and goodbyes. 

Fortunately, before the trip,  we had a special package arrive in the mail: inside was a small stuffed bunny with a letter of introduction: that this was Lonny, who is Bunny My Honey’s cousin. Lonny needed a place to live (it’s crowded in those bunny hutches) and wondered if we would take him in.  This was perfect timing, since the trip packing list stipulated that each child could bring 1 small comfort item. Hooray. Lonny would also get to see the mountain!

The morning I drove D to school to drop him off for the overnight, there was a story on OPB about how of all the mountains in the Cascade Range, Mount St. Helens was the most likely to blow again. I could not believe my ears and it was too late to turn it off–D heard the story. He noticed that the reporter used the word “lava” incorrectly and should have classified the flow as “magma.” I told him the only reason they were airing that story now was because of the recent eruption in Hawaii…

Anyway, the old gal did not “blow her top” and a grand time was had by all. I’m told the children (and teachers!) had a decent night’s sleep, the food was good, and the kiddos learned a lot. 

Here are some snaps the teachers sent home.

There was no communication from the teachers while the kids were up on the mountain–presumably, there was no signal. But once they returned home we got this report from them:

Hello Families,

You all would have been so proud of your amazing children during our overnight to The Mount St. Helens Institute! The kids were excellent Gardner School Ambassadors, as well as individual Ambassadors of each of their own families.  The knowledge and excitement our group of students brought to the program impressed our teachers Lucas, Sonya, and Mary.  All the children confidently stretched their own comfort limits differently, be it sleeping away from relatives for the first time, trying new/different food, or acting out a scene in front of their peers.  We SAW the children grow in front of us.  This was an extremely, successful and positive trip!  Thank you drivers for helping us shuttle the kids up and down the mountain safely.  And a giant Thank You to all of the parents for giving your child this experience they will remember for their entire lives.
“But what happened on the trip?”  You may be asking.  Yes, we know you have heard about the food and the bunks or beds.  That is completely normal to only hear a lot about the “mundane” experiences that the children can easily compare to their own daily lives.  These pictures will help paint a clearer picture for you.  Invite your child to tell you what is going on in some of the photos.  They will have LOTS to say.  Also, ask your kiddo some of these conversation starters:
How did your team work together to get across the parking lot lava flow?   
What was the first item your team found during the GPS scavenger hunt?  What did you learn from that geocache box?
Which mineral was more complicated to make: Hornblende, Feldspar, or Quartz?  How come? Did your team figure out a way to work together?
What made you think to use the prop/costume you chose for your team’s skit?  How did you act out your Effect?  
Did you like packing your own lunch?  Why?  Why not?
What was your cleaning responsibility?  Would you like that to be your job at home?






1 Comment

  1. Grandma Beverly

    Yes, It will be an experience they will remember. This school raises the bar so high, stretching the students comfort zone along with hands on activities to allow them to truly understand what’s before them rather just memorize facts.

    I’m sure Dash had lots to share when he got home. How did the parents sleep?

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