For the second consecutive year, Colton-Pierrepont Central School brought students and faculty to 4-H Camp Overlook for several days of fun in the sun, team building, and a re-orientation of sorts. Their attendance this year adds to a long and active history of engagement with the camp, which was reinvigorated in 2012 when the school brought, over the course of the year, all of grades 7-12 to take part in Overlook’s educational outdoor programming.
Attending this year were thirty seventh graders and ten teachers and staff members all of whom got to camp with a mission to grow as individuals and as a middle school team. Though the students have been in school for almost a month at the time of Colton’s annual retreat, the school sees the experience at Overlook as an opportunity for students to deepen their relationships as classmates and friends, for teachers to connect with their relatively new students in an active, fun way, and for each individual involved to learn and evolve through engagement. They bring with them clothes, food, a sleeping bag, and an open mind, and essentially let the staff and facility of Camp Overlook handle the task of molding minds.
On day one, the group, many of whom arrived at Overlook for the first time, began by taking a walk around the entire facility to get a feel for what they’d be up against over the next several days. The sobering reality of the hard, fun work to come initially stuck for many upon first sight of camp’s infamous zip line. Though it would not be seen again until the last day, the image of that sixty foot climb stuck in the heads of some as a beacon in the days to come and as a long-off goal for many others.
Over the next three days, the group would handle with determination and good humor all that 4-H Camp had to offer it… which, was extensive. Rope swings, tight wire walks, hard-won games of soccer and 4-square, 40 foot trees to climb, camp fires, cold nights, warm days, delicious meals, and the chance to fly over your teachers and friends were just some of the opportunities the students and staff of CPCS found at Overlook. Through topic-focused discussions at the end of each new activity and a general, open debrief at the end of each day, themes like team-work, effective communication, acceptance of responsibility, and willingness to challenge your limits came forth from both kids and adults.
Concluding with Overlook’s two highest elements, the Flying Squirrel and the Zip Line, all participants were given the chance to extend their comfort limit and challenge the skills they had cultivated over the days prior. While not everyone would ultimately reach the top, not one person touched back to earth without thunderous applause of approval from their friends and leaders, proving that all participants had gained the one of the greatest lessons of the camp experience: accept each individual for everything they are (including their fears) and support them for knowing their boundaries and challenging them.
If you or your group are interested in attending 4-H Camp Overlook for educational purpose, as a camper, or to just come and spend a weekend exploring our expansive grounds, please visit our website at 4hcampoverlook.org for more information, or email the Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.