The majority of The Dohn Hamilton Learning Center (Dohn HLC, Hamilton, Ohio) students are at-risk, inner-city teens whose lives outside of the classroom are often difficult. Students go home to unstable living environments, face pressures from the streets, take care of siblings while their parents work or go to work themselves.
Thanks to the generosity of others, this year the Dohn HLC received funding to take the students on a field trip – an adventure away from their realities where they might broaden their horizons and have a little fun. The destination? An overnight stay at Camp Campbell Gard.
As the campers got settled into their cabins on a Wednesday in late October, they played a few group games of football and kickball outside. When a football got stuck high in a tree, they worked together as a team for almost 45 minutes trying to figure out how to get it out.
After lunch, the group played a game called “The Beast”, which was similar to playing an elevated game of “telephone’’. Communication started at one end with one person seeing an initial drawing of an intended built structure in the end. That person would tell the next what it looked like, that person would tell the next what materials to get, and so on, until the last person had to build the object. The team did pretty well!
I’d like to thank you for giving me the chance to go on the field trip to Camp Campbell Gard. It was a lot of fun, and it allowed me to engage in some great team-building activities. It was also a much-needed break from my usual, oftentimes depressing day-to-day life. Thank you for the opportunity.
The students made and enjoyed ice-cream from simple ingredients before it was off to the high ropes course. Every student but one went up on the course, and one student, Airon, accompanied their teacher, Ms. Seals to the “birds nest”, the highest point of the course. When Ms. Seals was too nervous to zipline back down, Airon was able to talk her through it, giving her the confidence to do it in the end. Great job Airon and Ms. Seals!
Archery was next; not an easy sport to figure out, the students learned not to give up trying, and even after several failed attempts not one person missed the target before it was over. After a delicious dinner of pasta and garlic bread, the group played some more fun, team-building games before making s’mores by the campfire and relaxing before bed.
The second day started with breakfast and a couple of STEM activities: a competition to see who could build the tallest tower out of flimsy materials and build a safe container for an egg. Sadly, none of the students was able to protect their egg, but all were interested in trying the exercise again back at school.
My name is Jade and I went to Camp Campbell Gard last week with the grant money that Mrs. Osborn got for our school. Me and my family aren’t really on the lucky side with money, so if I had to pay for the field trip I would not have been able to go. I had fun with the games that I did participate in and I wanted to thank you. Hopefully I will go again someday!
The last activity of the camp adventure was survival training. The students had to build structures that would protect them from the wind, rain, and other inclement weather. The group decided to split into boys vs girls, and the girls were deemed the winners!
Gathering in the dining hall for one last meal (hamburgers and baked potatoes) before heading home, the students all expressed how much they enjoyed the experience. It was so wonderful to get away from their everyday lives, and while they felt like they did learn something, they had fun and felt like they created much stronger relationships with their classmates and teachers.
The teachers noted what a change they saw in their students. Their whole demeanor seemed to change: they were much more curious and engaged, and respectful towards one another. They are excited to see what ripple effect this will have back in the classroom – there is no doubt it will have an impact!
We would love to see students from ALL of Dohn’s programs have these life-enriching field trip experiences.
Please consider donating today – you can truly make a difference!