Sixth graders experience winter camp

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/12/99.

On a cold Wednesday morning, Jan. 6, the Paynesville Area Middle School sixth graders headed to their annual winter camp outing at the Long Lake Conservation Center near Palisade, 20 miles from Aitkin.

Ninty-one youngsters and their chaperones bundled up for their three-day winter outing in the wilderness. Among their activities they played: Who Gives A Hoot, Alpha Wolf, Quick Frozen Critters, Thicket, Snakes Alive, orienteering, cross country skiing, and preparing a wilderness meal.

Ashley Karger thought Alpha Wolf was great. The students got to go outside in the dark and try to find the wolf. Tom Smith enjoyed Alpha Wolf as well. He described the game as this guy hiding in the woods. The group starts waling and howling. ďAfter all the groups howl, the wolf howls. Then we follow the howl. It was kinda hard to walk because the sticks hit you in the face and eyes. Another thing was the tree stumps sticking out of the ground,Ē Smith said.

Kargerís least favorite activity was cross country skiing as everybody kept stepping on her ski. Theresa Hedeen thought skiing was the hardest as she kept falling. Pat Klehr said cross country skiing was tiring as they were moving all the time. Cross country skiing was done on the lake because there wasnít enough snow on the trails.

Lacey Bengtson said her favorite activity was cross country skiing. ďIíve never been skiing. At first, I didnít know how to ski, but then one of the parent counselors helped me,Ē she said.

Matt Mehr felt winter camp was a good experience for himself and his classmates. ďFor the people who didnít go, they missed out on a lot of fun,Ē he said.

Mehr said quick frozen critters was his favorite activity. It was a very exciting activity. We could be a lynx, a snowshoe hare, or a hunter. The activity showed a small food chain. The hunter killed the lynx, and the lynx killed the hare.

Rachael Halvorson enjoyed the wilderness meal because they got to cook the food over a fire. ďWe ate hot dogs, marshmallows, cookies, apples, and cocoa. I had a lot of fun,Ē she said.

Heather Albrecht and many of the classmates said the time spent in their cabins with their friends was their favorite activity.

Joan Keller said she enjoyed playing Deer Browse. ďFor Deer Browse they had to clip off blossoms from trees. When we were done with the game, we had to see if we were a healthy deer. My team wasnít,Ē she said.

Kim Hess enjoyed playing Who Gives A Hoot. ďWe learned a lot about owls and then we got to play a game. The owl would sit on a folding chair in the middle of an entryway. The mice would have to run past as quiet as possible. If the owl heard you, he would spray you with the squirt gun...Winter Camp was cool,Ē Hess said.

The best part of winter camp for many of the students was the bus ride up and back.

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