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HUMS Eighth-grade camping trip: Lake Elmore State Park

On Thursday, September 20, the Harwood eighth-grade class traveled to Lake Elmore State Park for an overnight camping extravaganza! The students, the eighth-grade teaching team and several dedicated parent chaperones braved the wind and the chilly conditions in tents and lean-tos for an evening of team building and competition. Students participated in many competitive and collaborative activities over the course of the two days, including hiking, making flags to represent lean-to groups, a pizza feast, evening skits and singing with s’mores around the campfire. Harwood teacher Brian Moody (of Survivor-Harwood fame) directed and led students through a nontraditional relay race that included kayaking, egg toss and tire rolling elements. Another popular event was the beach water balloon slingshot distance competition.


The Harwood eighth-grade teaching team includes Lynda Cummings, Jodie Curran, Sarah Ibson, Lisa Therrien, Brian Wagner and Jacki McCarty. The team thanked the dedicated parent chaperones who provided vehicles for gear transport, various skills and talents, great company and supervision for all of the student lean-to groups throughout the night. Parent chaperones included Megan Moffroid, Maggie Barch, Kelly Lumbra, Linda Sinnott, Sarah McNamee, David Little Sr., Tim Holter, Nils Behn, Dan Eckstein, Stan Ward and Elizabeth Tarno. The teaching team also thanked Lake Elmore State Park ranger Agnes Barsalow who helped plan the trip and hosted the group.


When they returned from the campout on Friday around 2 p.m., the students (okay, and the teachers) were wiped out. After unloading their gear, students relaxed – eating their remaining snacks. Most of them had soccer and field hockey games right after school. While students lounged on their rolled-up sleeping bags, amid their coolers and backpacks strewn across the eighth-grade team area, they wrote the following reflections on their experiences at Lake Elmore:



The Lake Elmore campout was really fun, but I am exhausted now. My favorite part was
hanging out with my lean-to group and friends. I also liked making the flag to represent our lean-to. A memorable moment was when – around 10 p.m. – my lean-to group saw a big raccoon in the woods. We all screamed, but the raccoon did not move for a couple of minutes. After we saw it we were all scared (obviously, since lean-tos only have three walls!) – Anneka Williams


During the camping trip we made some “furry friends.” Late in the evening we discovered we had some raccoons hiding under our lean-to. Apparently we tempted them with our discarded pizza crusts, which they devoured. A raccoon crept under our lean-to tarp and frequently freaked us out throughout the evening. We made a barricade and (somewhat) peacefully fell asleep. We awoke in the morning only to find evidence that we had a late-night visit from our new little “buddy.” Phoebe Pacheco



One moment during our camping trip that I remember well is when we were about to go to sleep. I could smell the fresh outdoors. I could see the trees and the stars. I could taste the freshness of my can of Mountain Dew. As I was trying to go to sleep, I heard a rustling so I picked up my flashlight . . . but it was nothing. I could barely sleep and what was one night felt like an eternity. It was probably like 2 in the morning when I finally fell asleep. – Chuntao Lin


My favorite moment from the trip was finally getting to sleep! I could hear the fire crackling near me. I smelled the burnt charcoals from inside the fire pit. I could taste lots of ashes and dust from when I got blasted with smoke by the wind. I could feel the hard wooden boards from the lean-to. It was nice to finally be able to sleep, but I did not sleep very well. – Zach Pratt


My favorite part of the camping trip was looking up at the stars. They were amazing. – Courtney Degan




My favorite part of the camping trip was when we were performing our skit. I liked hearing the laughter and applause of the crowd because it told me that they were enjoying it. I couldn’t really see anything except my fellow skit members because of the blinding lantern lights in front of us. I kind of liked the smell of the fire that we made earlier, which lingered while we performed. During the skit I could still taste the pizza that I ate for dinner. I could feel the sweat on my hands from being nervous when we started, but the skit went even better than what we had planned. – Shiv Seethepalli



When every camping lean-to group had to do a relay, we had to decide who was going to do each part of the relay race. Abby did the tire part. Maura did the sponge part. Tianna and I did the egg toss, Tenaya kayaked and finally Sam was the one who popped the balloon with her butt (which is how the relay concludes - after the balloon is passed as the relay baton throughout the contest). When doing the egg toss with Tianna, I heard people on my team (my lean-to group) and others cheering us on. When we broke the egg I heard the crowd groan in sympathy.– Emily Dow


When we won the time felt so close. We had just recovered from a 30-second penalty. I ran to the balloon, newly placed on the “X” in the sand. I flew through the air, landing on the balloon destroying it. I heard the time called and felt the rush of victory rushing over me. – Cole Fekert



The best part of the camping trip was when we were singing by the campfire . . . and hearing the crackle of the fire and everyone talking. I watched the orange fire while I heard the singing, tasted the nice s’mores roasted by the fire, gripped that graham cracker and smelled that camp fire smell . . . that was the best part about my trip.– Taber Andrews


The Lake Elmore Camping Trip was so much fun! I had a blast! The highlight of everything was the whole eighth-grade standing by the campfire while Tim (Holter) was playing his guitar and we were all singing! I saw smiles everywhere, and people dancing. Everyone looked so happy and joyful. I heard laughter and people singing really loudly. I was touched and felt the love everywhere, as I held the hands of my two really good friends. It was the best! – Isabel Moffroid


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