Grade 9 - Keith Kelleth
SWOW in 9th grade is a much more relaxed pace than the later years, but that’s intentional. Our goal is to begin to introduce the ideas and skills of leadership. We want to get these students to consciously notice things about the way they communicate, the way they listen, and the way they get things done. The movies we watch are fun, but they’ve been chosen with specific themes in mind. The hike is difficult, but we want them to see how they deal with each other under those conditions. The challenges they’re given need to be solved creatively, and so they need to listen to each other and think in new ways. They have to know when to step up and lead, but also when to take a step back and follow.
While the different teams the students are divided into really develop their identity over the week, and a little healthy competition can help the teams bond, the service project at the end of the week helps them see just how much that collaborative effort can accomplish. All in all, freshman SWoW is really the jumping off point for their next three years, and so it’s important to start them off in the right frame of mind. And of course, they get to have some fun too! :)
Grade 10 - Yujiro Fujiwara
The experiences lived by students at 10th-grade SWOW are designed to foster leadership skills in students as they connect their intellect and emotions with nature. One of the goals of the week is that students may form a better understanding of their role as steward-leaders as they see how their decisions and behavior may have an impact on the environment.
On the intellectual aspect, students engage with science content related to freshwater and its importance, participate in the collection of water parameters, and learn about native animals and plants in the area.
On the emotional aspect, students deepen their relationships among their peers and increase their appreciation for nature. Students get time to reflect and come up with personal sustainability projects that can be implemented in short, medium, and long-term timeframe
Grade 11 - Ryan Potter
Having finally arrived at the campsite after a long day of hiking, it’s time to eat–dinner is no longer as simple as going home, or stopping at the convenience store, though. We gather around the instructions as the light fades as the student leaders discuss what needs to be done in order to make the meal: Who is carrying the cutting board and ingredients for supper? Who chops the carrots and potatoes? Who knows how the stoves work? Will we have enough water tomorrow? On Wilderness Camp, students learn that CAJ's Student Objectives are not just theory: either we work together as Productive Collaborators, or we don’t eat. Being a Faithful Caretaker takes on a whole new meaning as the student leaders discuss who gets a second serving of the evening meal: giving a struggling teammate a larger portion of the limited food is as much being a Faithful Caretaker as is cleaning up the campsite in the mornings.
In the morning, the student leaders, tasked with getting their team to their next camp site, use orienteering skills that they have only just learned, where a mistake could mean hours of wasted energy, and potentially a very uncomfortable night of fitful sleep. Teachers and other team members can provide wisdom, advice, and tips, but the advice needs to be asked for, listened to, and used; student leaders need be Effective Communicators as they ask, Responsible Learners as they listen, and Discerning Thinkers as they lead, in order to successfully lead.
Experiential learning opportunities such as CAJ's Wilderness Camp program give the students the opportunity to see that CAJ’s Student Objectives are much more than words on a wall or an assignment, rather, through growing proficiency in the CAJ student objectives, the students are learning and experiencing real servant leadership.
Grade 12 - 2 Senior Students:
The trip to Nagasaki gave deep insight on early Christianity in Japan. Especially after reading Silence, the sites that we visited linked to the themes of martyrdom and Kakure Kirishitans, of which we discussed during Japanese Culture. I was challenged to reflect on my faith and was opened to a new perspective of thankfulness and inspiration.
I think that this was a nice opportunity for us seniors to be able to learn more about Christianity and the meaning it holds for our generation of believers!
The atomic bomb museum opened my eyes to the destructive power that we can have as humans. Just to imagine waking up to all that I know completely obliterated with no trace of the place and people I call home, was so difficult. This was almost frustrating because despite how much I wanted to understand it beyond just facts, there was still a sense of detachment. However, I realized that the fact that I was trying was the most important part, since part of serving the world for Christ is to be aware of the consequences of our actions.