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Middle School News

February 13, 2012

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Winter Camping Teaches Leadership, Stewardship

by Marianne Hicks and Chris Tronicek

This has been an unseasonably warm winter so far, but try telling that to the Adventure Club. The MRH Adventure Club, which meets every Tuesday after school, is focused on developing skills and knowledge to prepare for exciting, student planned adventures. Adventurers recently completed their annual sub-zero winter camping adventure. The main objective of this trip was to construct primitive shelters and then sleep in them overnight. 

Prior to this camping trip, several Adventure Club meetings were spent researching different types of primitive shelters and learning how to build them. Some adventurers decided to get extra practice by making trial shelters so they knew what to expect. Adventurers were taught how to make a paracord survival bracelet by Chris Hoelzer, Director of Technology. These bracelets are made from 15-25 feet of paracord. The paracord can be undone in emergencies.  Students used the paracord to help make primitive shelters and could be used in countless other survival situations. Members also learned some valuable knot tying skills, such as lashing, so they would know which knot to use when securing two logs together. 

On the day of the camping trip, adventurers arrived at the Maplewood Public Pool parking lot, packed and ready to go. Once at their destination, they established a camp and were let free to take a look at the area and establish sites to make shelters. After everyone chose their site, each group got a tool to cut dead limbs in order to make their shelter. For some groups, it took only 30 minutes,  while others spent up to five hours working on their shelter. For some, the shelter consisted of two or three big limbs and a tarp thrown on top, but other shelters were constructed of big branches, cedar limbs, and leaves. The combination of the right materials and a well thought out plan took away all wind chill and kept the person warm. In the end, they found that the more time spent working on a shelter, the more comfortable and warm they were at night. 

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.