Saturday afternoon we drove to a hiking trail for a solitude experience. We walked along the trail finding places for each EcoKid to sit alone out of sight of the next kid along the path. Each was asked to remain silent until the whistle blew. Many of the kids required reassurance that they would be safe. At least one kid was unable to keep quiet. Fortunately there was enough distance between that most of the others were not disturbed. One girl wore short heels and twisted her ankle. One young man discovered stinging nettle and lived. A few of the kids enjoyed the experience and one saw a black snake.
Perhaps this exercise, more than any other, brought into focus the need for many of the kids to find some kind of inner discipline and emotional control. The lack of discipline could be observed throughout the program as the inability attend to a subject for more than a few seconds. The emotional control could be observed in the inflated dramas that led to the arguments that side tracked the program earlier.
These are all good kids. But they have so much more potential than they are aware of. Discussions with long time teachers have brought me to the conclusion that this under appreciation of potential and /or the discipline to realize it is the norm in much of public education today. I am alarmed! More in the discussion section.
We brought a large cake with us to celebrate Shekenas birthday. We had it made with both chocolate and white to celebrate the integrated nature of our group. Shekenas parents drove up and had foil stew and cake with us.
After the party Ellie led us on a star walk. At one point she had the kids close their eyes and listen for every sound they could hear. One EcoKid reported how the experience was neat and something hed never done before. He seemed quite moved.
On Sunday morning Ellie got quite sick to her stomach. The kids pulled together pretty well and helped break camp after helping fix breakfast. We all got home okay and Ellie felt better the next day.
Thanks to regular volunteers Joel Kraft and Ellie Dawson. In addition, thanks to Lavern, Karlos Mom, Jeff, Andrews Dad and Martha, Bens Mom who camped and helped keep a lid on the energetic teens. Thanks also to Charles, Desmonds Dad who came up for the day on Saturday. It was so good to have parents involved. It was intended and hoped for all along in the program but schedules are very full. I think that, over time, the parental involvement will be seen as the strongest part of the program.