Every year, sixth-graders at Orlando Junior Academy (OJA) look forward to experience Outdoor Education at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, Fla. This year, science was the focus for the week, featuring hands-on learning such as breadmaking, ax-throwing, communicating in morse code, and rock climbing, to name a few.
Mark Swaisgood, Lakeland and Plant City district pastor and keynote speaker, challenged the students to use the scientific method while exploring activities around the camp. He encouraged them to develop a sense of wonder of God’s creation as they observed, hypothesized, and tested their hypotheses.
Students joyfully applied the principles during the ax-throwing activity. They began by observing their throwing stance, balancing the strength with which they threw the ax, and how they positioned it in their hand. Kenny, an OJA student, quickly learned how to hypothesize and develop a better way to accomplish the activity, and was successful in hitting the target the most times.
Many students shared that the week was especially meaningful because they conquered their fear of heights on the Tower of Faith. On the tower, students experienced rock climbing and the Leap of Faith, which is a 50-foot Powerfan free-fall simulator. This experience, along with the other activities of the week, challenged students to grow their knowledge of the world as well as their social and emotional stamina. It also strengthened their faith in Jesus.
As the sun set every evening at camp, the students witnessed something truly marvelous — a star-filled sky! Many OJA students live near downtown Orlando where light pollution hides the stars at night. This stargazing experience left students in awe and wonder as many of them saw the night sky so clearly for the first time. Students learned that there are countless stars in the sky, yet God took special care in creating each one. Just like the stars, God created all the people in the world, and He crafted each one there — beautiful and unique.
Outdoor Education is one of so many amazing things students experience as part of their academic journey in Adventist schools. For more information and to find schools near you, visit adventisteducation.org.
Florida | May 2021