Boosting Extracurriculars: Duke Camping Trip

Debangi M ('21)

The Duke camping trip session this school year took place on September 16 and 17 at Fun Space Ashinoko camp for the Bronze Award participants. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a youth development program, which contains multiple required commitments for different award levels, meaning that personalized programs can be designed based on what students are interested in. This program includes a service, skill, physical recreation, and adventurous journey.

On this camping trip, there were eight students who successfully completed their mission along with three teachers, including Ms. X, Mr. Skulmoski, and Mr. Wilk, who chaperoned the students. Pupils expected that the trip will be very tiring and they would have to hike all the way. Julia N. (10) reflected, “we actually took a bus to our campsite and fortunately there were other groups camping at that site as well.” Students also developed many skills while trying to achieve this award. They learned to set personal goals, hike, and go camping. While camping, the students faced many challenges, such as the shivery cold night in their tents and the heavy rain on the hike back. “They learned to walk very long distances while carrying a bulky bag weighing 15kg. The adventure also allowed students to see different areas of Japan and learn how to survive in extreme situations. They developed a very important skill on this trip; resilience to overcome the challenges” Mr. Skulmoski added. Additionally, Zoe T. (10) reflected on an amusing incident that happened by the campfire: "Ms. X wanted to make S'mores but since she was afraid of fire, her marshmallows kept falling into the fire. In the end, she just ate cold marshmallows because she was too stubborn to eat ones that the students made for her."

Altogether, the Duke camping trip was filled with enthusiasm and entertaining moments. By considering this program, students can focus on their extracurricular activities, which enables them to realize how much time they spend on the activities versus how much time they should be spending on the activities.

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