This past Monday, our 3rd and 4th graders went on a very special field trip to Mt. Aetna Camp. While the upper graders at FAA usually go to Mt. Aetna for three days of Outdoor School, this was the first year that 3rd and 4th graders were invited to go to an Outdoor School as well. The program is new, and designed especially for our students. The students spent most of the day at the camp, learning and growing closer to God through nature.
The day began with a devotional by Mr. Joel, one of the leaders for the day. He introduced the theme for the day, which was “Looking at the Heart.” The students learned about David in the Bible, and how he was chosen to be king, not for his looks or abilities, but because God saw His heart. Mr. Joel showed the students two bearded dragons, a type of lizard that comes from Australia. Normally, when people or other animals see these creatures, they are afraid to touch them because of the spiky looking scales along their bodies. Yet, once you touch the spikes, you soon learn that they are not sharp at all; in fact they are soft and completely harmless. The students were challenged to not judge a book by its cover and, as God did with David and with us, to always look at the heart.
The students were reminded of this theme throughout the day, especially as they explored the many different varieties of plant life on the Exploration Walk around the camp. Sassafrass, mint leaves, milkwheat, and wild grape trees were just a few of the plants that the students were able to explore. The Exploration Walk reinforced what the students have been learning in science class: That God created and designed the world and it didn’t happen on its own. Here are just a few of the things that the students learned on their nature walk: Olivia Nichols learned that “you can tell a mint plant from other plants because the mint plant has a square stem.” Darcy Koipillai was amazed to learn that “God created so many different types of mosses of different colors and sizes.” Emily Carvalho learned that “we can eat acorns if you cook it for a long time.” The students were definitely able to look deeper at these trees that they may have normally passed by, without truly knowing what they were.
The second part of the day was spent doing a leaf rubbing art project. First, the students went outside and chose their favorite leaves. Ms. Darlene, the leader for this activity, encouraged the students to look closely at the leaves, especially underneath to find the leaves that would work best for rubbing, rather than just choosing the ones that looked good at first glance. Once they had chosen their leaves, the students went back inside to do their craft. For Samoria Lock, it was her favorite part of the trip because “it was fun collecting leaves, especially the maple leaves”. The leaves turned out great, and the students were able to take home their crafts to share with their families.
Overall, the students had an amazing time and learned so much about God and how much more we can learn when we look deeper at His creation and each other. Seeing God in Nature like this truly helps our students to strengthen their faith in God and encourage them to put their FAITH IN ACTION. As Myles Brown said, “I learned to look around and to explore new and different things out in the wilderness. The hike was my favorite part!” For Margaret Shultz, “discovering, learning, and reviewing so many things that God has made” was her favorite part of the trip.” The camp staff has already informed us that they are looking forward to seeing our 3rd and 4th graders back again next year and we are definitely looking forward to it as well!