In early October, 50 Grand Blanc Academy fifth and sixth graders boarded a bus to Kentucky with lots of excitement for the week to come. Honestly, does the thrill of going away to camp ever change for students?
Grand Blanc Academy is welcomed each spring and fall by the Tim Hortons® Community Leaders Program for a five day, four night trip camp experience. The students leave their school community to head to Camp Kentahten in Kentucky where Tim Hortons sponsors the entire trip from the bus to the meals and all of the activities. They get the chance to participate in camp experiences designed to develop life and leadership skills that provide the building blocks for youth engagement. “For many of our students, this is their first time leaving the state, so that alone generates a lot of excitement. Add in the beauty of the camp and all the activities designed to help them build core skills and it’s such a thrill for them. It’s also a lot of fun for our staff to watch them take in these new experiences and grow over the week at camp,” said school Principal Patty Wood.
For the fall trip students were introduced to and worked on the values of goal setting, peace, relationships, teamwork and challenge. Throughout their time working on these core values, the students were exposed to activities that included archery, floor hockey, a communications class and various crafts. The students cap off their time at camp with a talent show of sorts. Performances from the students included many songs, as well as skits with anti-bullying messages.
In the time between the two camp visits, students challenge themselves with constructive actions–creating their own community service projects, fundraising and applying the concepts they learned during their time at camp. This year, the students picked a community project to work on between now and their return in the Spring. Their mission is to raise money for the Humane Society. The goal is $500 and students have various fundraising ideas that they’ll be looking to implement, including creating a commercial to use on social media. Students worked in groups and presented their fundraising ideas in a “Shark Tank” like fashion.
When the students return to camp in the spring, they will be focused on the values of responsibility, motivation and reflection. They’ll again have the chance to participate in various activities and strengthen their bond as they wrap up and reflect on their team project.
Principal Wood shared, “We appreciate the opportunity that Tim Horton’s provides to our school and students with their Community Leaders Program and Camp Kentahten. They are helping us build a strong foundation of core values that serves our students both in and out of school.”
If you’re interested in seeing updates on their project progress, or in supporting their fundraising efforts, you can follow them on Facebook!