Camp MiVoden Hosts UCC Outdoor School

Oobleck, egg drops, potato launchers, chemical reactions, explosions, electrocuting pickles, welding lessons, high ropes course, building and cooking over a fire, new songs, new friends and new experiences — sounds like too much fun to be school! 

Those were just a few of the experiences that fifth- and sixth-graders were able to have when they attended outdoor school at Camp MiVoden. Students spent the week participating in an activity-based curriculum that provided many unique opportunities for learning.

“When we leave a class, the students say, ‘That was epic — definitely the best class!’” remarked one fifth-grade teacher. “Then we attend the next one and they say, ‘Wait, that was epic! That one was the best class.’”

Camp MiVoden’s outdoor school program emphasizes connections between teachers/sponsors and students. It's a fun way for teachers to engage with their students in such an exciting learning environment.

“When we created the states of matter curriculum, our goal was to provide opportunities for teachers and sponsors from each school to connect with and mentor their students,” said Caleb Foss, Camp MiVoden director of programming. “By using volunteers and MiVoden staff to run the classes and activities instead of teachers, we provide numerous opportunities for these connections.”

Teachers and sponsors from the schools agreed, with one reporting that it was so nice to be able to focus on bonding with her students instead of running a program.

Students also took part in an engaging worship program throughout the week. Jeremiah Smart, Coeur d’Alene Adventist Church pastor, spoke every morning and evening, sharing many stories illustrating God’s love and desire for a friendship with each person. 

Each class that students attended during the day included Biblical applications of the concepts they were learning and had a chance for them to do some journaling in response. The focus of MiVoden’s outdoor school is connecting with God, nature and each other, and there were numerous opportunities for all three.

The MiVoden outdoor school program has been steadily growing, maxing out this year with 278 participants from all across Upper Columbia Conference. Jeff Wines, UCC director of young adult, youth and club ministries, was able to come and talk about summer camp ministry and even offered a discount for outdoor school students to come experience MiVoden’s summer program for the first time. 

Coming together in this setting has been a great way for UCC schools and teachers to collaborate. “Not every classroom has four walls,” said Steve Whewell, education specialist. This was certainly evident for all in attendance at the 2024 Camp MiVoden outdoor school program.

Featured in: July/August 2024