It has been a phenomenal year for our Youth Leadership team as we continued our high school internship with KIPP Denver Collegiate and began a new internship program with KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy.
The Greenway Leadership River Ranger program is designed for high school students to develop their leadership and communication skills, as well as knowledge of the environment and Environmental Education. The internship consists of teaching days, GLC days, and holiday camp. Interns are paired up, and each pair is assigned a lesson from a SPREE field trip. Interns then attend and teach on four SPREE excursions throughout the year. Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) days involve interns participating in two GLC events during the school year. And finally, interns attend one day of SPREE holiday camp to learn and practice student management.
It was a beautiful, sunny day at Cherry Creek Reservoir when the Greenway Leadership Corps took six Denver high schoolers sailing for their first time. The Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) is a segment of The Greenway Foundation that hosts monthly outdoor adventure and stewardship events for Denver high school students. All events are free of charge and students are never required to bring any gear or prior experience!
We were thrilled to have a former SPREE camper, now in high school, intern with us this spring! She spent two weeks shadowing our educators at SPREE Excursions and Holiday Camp and even tried out some teaching herself. Read her account of the experience and why she chose to intern with SPREE below.
Being a freshman in high school you aren't really able to experience any possible fields of interest for after college. But at my school Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning I am given that opportunity to do just that. I am part of a class at school where we learn how to write resumes and cover letters and then through that, we use what we learned to reach out to different “experts” in a chosen field of study. I chose outdoor ed as my field because it is something that I have always been interested in and involved in. From 3rd grade up until 6th or 7th grade, I was enrolled in SPREE summer camps. Being involved in that when I was younger really opened my eyes up to cool experiences. Because of this, the Greenway Foundation was one of the first companies I reached out to.
The first day I was really nervous as I am a lot of the time but this nervousness seemed to improve throughout the rest of the day and got even better the rest of the week. My first day was at the Confluence Park with the 3rd graders and during the day I shadowed Dee helping to make sure all the kids were listening and paying attention. Tuesday I was at Commons Park with the 1st graders where I did the same thing as Monday just shadowing and observing all the different activities. On Wednesday I was at Pasquinel's Landing Park and this is the day I actually got to teach a little for the first time. I was actually really nervous before but after watching Lena teach the lesson a few times I kinda felt a little better. I was at the Beaver station where they build dams and learn about Beaver dams and dens. I didn't want to take on to much so I chose to just explain how to build the dams and what boundaries and rules they had to follow. After the first rotation that I taught, I felt a little more comfortable and when it came to the last one I felt in my element. In the afternoon I went back to shadowing and helping where I could. Thursday I was at bear creek park and followed one group of student to each station and helped out where I could. On Friday I was at Commons Park with fifth graders learning about amphibians and reptiles, during the morning rotation I taught part of the snake dress up lesson. Reflecting on the week I experienced a lot more of a field that I have always been passionate about and I can see why everyone who works at SPREE loves it.
On [the following] Monday it was the holiday camp. During the day I was just shadowing different stations and helping the teachers. In the afternoon another high school ranger and I learned how to make a proper fire and then we set up for s'mores. This was a really fun day and brought back a lot of memories from camp. On Tuesday I was back at Confluence Park, it was pretty chilly on Tuesday so the kids were rowdier. This was a day where my teacher voice finally emerged itself a couple of times. Wednesday I was at Commons Park with the first graders it was freezing cold and some of the kids weren't dressed properly for the weather, in the end, they ended up leaving early. But I did get to teach the intro in the morning all by myself and I was really proud of myself for doing that. Thursday was my last day and I was really bummed that it was. The school group was really small so there were only two groups instead of the usual four. I decided to teach part of Montana City because I shadowed that station a lot and was really comfortable doing it. I first shadowed Mike and saw how he did it and then when the second group came along I taught the first part of the lesson. I was really scared that I forgot something so when Lena came over and told me I did great I was really relieved.
Overall these two weeks were really fun and an amazing experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. I would like to thank Rachel and all the other amazing teachers that I shadowed throughout the two weeks.
This past Monday, campers braved the cold and calls for bad weather and joined SPREE in a one day camp-out! This day of Holiday Camp was Camping 101 and was focused on skills and materials needed for a successful camping trip whether it be in a backyard or a national forest.
The first activity we did was scheme and plan the supplies needed for a camp out. We organized the supplies into “Camping Wants” vs “Camping Needs” because it is important to prioritize supplies based on the available space you have to transport everything! We then went outside to learn how to set up a tent, and test out some sleeping bags- they helped keep us warm!