100 teenagers in the woods

I just returned from spending a week in the woods of north Idaho with the senior class.  Every year, as part of our school program, we take the seniors, and many of their parents, into the woods to rough it.  There is no electricity, no camp sites, no showers, no cell phone coverage.  During this time they learn wilderness 1st aid, orienteering, shelters, fire-building, edible wild plants, group problem solving, & have an opportunity to share from the deepest parts of their souls -if they choose.  New to the experience this year is the introduction of dutch oven cooking.  About 30 dutch ovens help the 100 teens make food every day. The students sleep in black plastic structures they have to make for themselves.  Their latrines are holes in the ground that they build another black plastic structure around for privacy.

When I tell some people about the program, they expect me to tell horror stories (like the lord of the flies) of the 100 savage teens in the woods for a week.  I tell everyone the truth…It is a great week.  I am one of the lucky few teachers who get to go on this trip every year.  I teach all of the seniors every day, at school, and they turn in homework from this trip to me later (about 8,500 pages to grade).  This is the first year that I camped in the jPod.    I was a bit spoiled.  After working 18 hours a day in the woods running ropes courses, climbing trees, etc. the jPod was a wonderful haven (especially when I’m sick).

It seems like I always come back sick or injured from this week but it is worth it.  Last year, it was a hospitalizing  e coli infection & 4 broken bones in my nose.  This year I have a really nasty cold/fever with multiple disfiguring wasp stings to the face (you know your face is swollen when your eye lashes rest on your upper lip).  So, I am fairly pleased with this year.  It could be worse.

For privacy reasons, I cannot post pictures of my students here but I do have a few pics of the jPod on its way out, there, and back from our off road primitive camping area.  It is a really great week.  I hope that the fever & swelling go away soon so I can read what I typed in this post.

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