When we arrived at Mt. Philo State Park, in keeping with our theme of personal responsibility, campers were given an overview of hiking rules and safety guidelines. They were also encouraged to choose a hiking pace that was suitable to them and to take water breaks as needed. As the hike began, counselors spread out along the trail and matched pace with campers so that everyone could hike at a comfortable speed while still receiving proper supervision. Once at the top, we enjoyed stunning views of Lake Champlain and had lunch in comfy Adirondack chairs. It was our last day with one of our campers and he had brought in brownies to share. That was a nice treat to have with lunch after the hike!
Immediately after eating, a group of campers asked to do more hiking so we split the group and about half of the kids went back down the mountain to explore the 'Devil's Chair' trail with two of our counselors. The rest stayed back to do a supervise scavenger hunt we had planned.
Scavenger hunt participants were given a list of items, a Ziploc bag to collect items, a pencil and a blank sheet of paper. Because some of the items on the list were not easy to put in a plastic baggie (ie. an animal's home, ) and because it is a state park where picking plants is discouraged, we allowed kids the option of drawing pictures of the items they couldn't collect or taking photos on their phones. Either way, they needed to provide proof for each item on their list. Ironically all groups finished pretty much at the same time, about 30 minutes into the scavenger hunt so everyone who participated received a prize!
Once our group of hikers returned we gave them 10-15 minutes to re-hydrate and relax before the whole group headed back down the trail to the bus. Overall, it was an enjoyable, successful field trip. Campers got some quality active time, had their choice of activity at the top of the mountain, and we spent a full day outside. Best of all, it didn't rain until we got back to ADL!
-Robyn, Camp STAR Coordinator