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Canoeing the White River 3.HEIC

Holland Early College students enjoying trips to Camp Roger and the White River

"HEC Experiential Education"

Jeff Kordich and Ashlyn Ruffner-Rowell, 9th grade Math and 11th grade English teachers, wrote grants requesting experiential education opportunities for their students in Holland's Early College program.

"We have been working to develop an experiential ed program here at Holland Early College for students to focus on personal growth, community building, self empowerment, and confidence.  The research behind experiential ed shows that these skills transfer directly back to the students personal lives, school lives, relationships, and current/future jobs.  


The 9th graders went to Camp Roger in Rockford, while the 11th graders took a canoe trip on the White River in Montague. We created team building opportunities and reflection in the weeks/months leading up to the actual experiential ed trip, and then reflected and debriefed both during and after the field trip.  


The lens for the 9th grade trip was "stepping outside your comfort zone for personal growth", as well as building community and cohesiveness as a 9th grade class.  Students participated in 4 activities throughout the day:  fire building, canoeing, high ropes course, and organized team building challenges.  It was AMAZING to see the group come together to support each other, cheer each other on, and celebrate each other's successes.  I was incredibly impressed and delighted to see our students rise to the occasion and grow tremendously through the experience.  The leaders there at Camp Roger even commented on how our group was amazingly supportive, and how the support/love they were showing each other was not something that they see to that level very often.  


The lens for the 11th grade trip was "grit and the importance of teamwork", as well as building community and cohesiveness as an 11th grade class.  Students started the day launching their canoes up in Montague, and we canoed a section of the White River that winds and meanders its way through a large swath of National Forest.  Students had to work together and communicate positively as they navigated the water, and while some thrived in that challenge others needed to dig deep to complete the adventure.  Students who "pinballed" from side to side and/or got caught up in fallen trees all rose to the occasion and finished the excursion with determination and grace.  It was impressive to see how everyone worked together, supported each other, and were able to dig deep and find success despite their initial struggles.

THANK YOU so much for helping to make these trips possible. Without your support we would not have been able to make this incredibly impactful experience happen for these students."



Camp Roger 11.HEIC
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