DC Oakes students become the teachers at Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVentures
LARKSPUR—It was all fun and games—and a fantastic learning and leadership opportunity for Renaissance Magnet School second graders and Daniel C. Oakes (DC Oakes) high school students alike in February during a Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVentures overnight retreat.
Renaissance second graders engaged in snowshoeing, games and activities led by volunteer students from DC Oakes.
“Our whole program revolves around high school volunteers helping out when kids come on site for outdoor education experiences,” said Jolee Jones, Stone Canyon’s Director.
It has become an annual tradition that when Renaissance second graders visit Stone Canyon for its overnight retreat each year, DC Oakes students are there teaching the little ones.
“It’s really fun to watch that rapport build, there’s these really tall high school kids and little tiny second graders—we call them squishies—and they’re doing all these different kind of activities,” Jones said. “It’s also a great chance for the DC Oakes kids to get the opportunity to learn how to teach and learn those presentation skills.”
Stone Canyon Outdoor EdVentures has been part of Douglas County School District since it opened its doors in 2012. The program’s mission is to provide high quality outdoor education and recreational experiences for the community.
The team at Stone Canyon works with DC Oakes students to help them develop lessons to make sure they understand the curriculum, as well as provide them with teaching tips.
DC Oakes is an alternative high school in Douglas County that serves students at risk of not completing high school, providing them a pathway to receive their high school diploma. As part of their curriculum, the school has an outdoor education program that takes the place of a traditional physical education class.
“It becomes this great marriage when you’re talking about doing these outings with the little ones. It brings that circle of learning together,” Jones said.
“The high school leaders were able to improve their facilitation skills by applying instructor feedback throughout the day,” said Stone Canyon team member, Gabby Pulig. “We saw instant outcomes in their group management and teaching skills, creating a more fluid sequence. Each activity period improved as the high school leaders gained confidence from the previous session. The students, parents, and Stone Canyon Instructors had a great time and appreciated the collaboration.”
“Throughout the two day progression of game based initiatives, the two high school leads showed great poise when explaining activities, discussing outcomes with students and establishing authentic connections,” added Stone Canyon team member, Gabe Cummings. “With every subsequent activity group, their confidence grew and was reflected in how the students interacted with them. Overall, I would say that their collaboration and rapport helped students achieve noticeable improvements in their ability to assess problems and communicate with each other.”
In addition to overnight educational retreats, Stone Canyon offers day-long retreats and other immersive outdoor experiences for students, families, community organizations and corporate groups. They also are launching a summer camp opportunity this June for campers aged 10 to 14 years old. For more information on the camp, click here.