Aside from the opportunity to meet new people, Tom Drumm, Tuba City High School English teacher, said he hopes his students will come away from this experience with a renewed self-confidence and an ability to weigh perceived risks and make healthy choices.
“Just being outdoors and being exposed and introduced to places like this is good for them,” Drumm said. “Hopefully they’ll continue to do these kind of things in years to come, which in turn will lead to a healthier lifestyle.”
Many of the Prescott College students in the class plan to become teachers or facilitate outdoor activities for others once they graduate.
“This class has been a great experience for me,” said Prescott College student Leif Caspersson. “[Working with these students has been] a stepping stone to becoming skilled at facilitating outdoor activities and working with different groups of students, different age levels and different socio-economic backgrounds.”
“Getting through to students and reaching them on different levels and having them respond and gaining their respect was just great.”
Denny Preisser, a reading teacher at Monument Valley High School and sponsor the MVHS Outdoor Challenge Club, sees the collaboration as mutually beneficial.
“Outdoor experiences like this give our kids a chance to interact with each other in an out of school setting that otherwise would not happen, such as seniors hanging out with freshmen,” he said. “The simple act of sitting around the campfire at night sharing stories and experiences has immeasurable growing and learning value in it.
“Activities like this teach them a lot about group dynamics and themselves.”
In addition, Preisser pointed out the students benefited from the interaction with the Prescott College students who served as role models.
“The PC students went out of their way to make this more than just a day of climbing on rocks,” Prisser said. “They did a good job of giving our kids a true experiential learning experience through reflection and application of principles applied in the rock climbing (and the whole camping trip) to everyday life.”
Plaut hopes to see this program continue and grow.
“We’re interested in new partnerships and (of course) new donors,” she said. “The jury is clearly in that teaching real live students is the best way to become a real live teacher.”
(Karlyn Haas is in the office of Institutional Advancement at Prescott College.)