Ice Cave Explorers

by | Land Stewards, Summer Camp

During the last day of the eight- to twelve-year-old camp, Outdoor Explores, we took the Campers to the Ice Caves nearby campus. Taking a large group of this age group into a pitch-black cave with slippery ice as flooring, meant we had to be absolutely positive that everyone had all the necessary safety gear. Luckily, we had an amazing group who were able and willing to follow the instructions. Descending into the cave the excited yelling made it clear that this was something special for the campers. We carefully walked across the ice flooring making good use of our gloves and headlamps as the light behind us got dimmer. Leading the group, I made a sharp right near a hole which required even our smallest campers to crawl on their stomachs into a small opening with just enough space for the campers, and educators to spread out and sit down. Myself, and the other two educators then explained that we were going to be silent for five minutes with our headlamps all off. Our first few attempts lasted five to twenty seconds before someone broke out laughing. However, during our third attempt all of the campers managed to enjoy the pitch black and hear the slow dripping that these kinds of caves make. This experience taught me that the difficult process of planning and executing an idea is worth it. Although at first the group had trouble following instructions, when we made it clear that they will need to follow our guidance it made their experience more special. I often struggle to balance letting the campers do what they want and being stricter about following instructions, on this day I found that balance. At the end of the week, nearly every camper and educator said that the Ice Caves and the activities we did in it were the most memorable of that week.