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Shaw Heights and Flynn 6th Graders Head to the Mountains for Outdoor Ed

About 80 sixth graders from Shaw Heights Middle School were joined for the first time ever by 20 sixth grade students from the John E. Flynn a Marzano Academy for an opportunity to learn about the Colorado mountains and to swap a desk and chair for hiking boots and sunscreen. 

In year’s past, the trip to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park was taken in the spring, which is always a little dicey because of the unpredictable weather.

So when a fall date for 2019 opened up, the school jumped on it, allowing the new students at Shaw Heights and Flynn an early opportunity to get to know their fellow classmates, as well as their teachers.

 “We want to provide a place where kids can get to know each other … This is a place where kids get to be themselves, “ said Mike Carlson, Principal of Shaw Heights Middle School. “Being able to come up here in the fall, they are able to establish these relationships where they are going to be lifelong friends.”

Over the course of three days, students learn about the environment and how to take care of it, and how to survive out in the elements.

Among the activities, they search shallow streams looking for macroinvertebrates, which are aquatic insects that can be helpful indicators on the health of the streams. In addition to the educational courses, the students go on hikes, sit by the campfire, and participate in teambuilding games.

Brandon Reynolds, the Outdoor Ed Director for YMCA of the Rockies says, “This is really an unplugged experience. The students get to be in the moment, interact with themselves and interact with nature.”

Check out the video above and slide show below to get an in-depth look at the Outdoor Ed Experience.