From September 30th – October 2nd, the fifth grade visited Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville, NY. Frost Valley is a values driven organization that promotes healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. The core values of Frost Valley, many of which are also D-E core values, include caring, community, diversity, honesty, inclusiveness, respect, responsibility and stewardship. These values were encouraged throughout the 5th grade’s stay at Frost Valley, and the students had an exciting and educational trip.
While at Frost Valley, students were kept busy participating in such activities as hiking, canoeing and Project Adventure. In Project Adventure, Frost Valley staff members gave the students challenges to accomplish. To achieve the goal of the challenges, students had to communicate and collaborate with each other, thus building a sense of community among the students. Students also took part in environmental activities, such as water ecology. Frost Valley staff members taught the students to use nets to capture living organisms from ponds and streams and accurately identify them.
Fifth graders also learned of the history of Frost Valley YMCA through a tour of Julius Forstmann’s home. Julius Forstmann originally owned the 2,200 acre area which was sold to Frost Valley in 1956, and his house is full of historical artifacts. Evening programs included presentations from a herpetologist (snake and reptile specialist) and an ornithologist (bird specialist).
As Mikey Minkin, a student new to D-E this year, said, “Since I’m a new kid, bunking with people I didn’t know so well made me closer to them. I also learned not to waste food at Frost Valley. The staff taught us the importance of only taking on your plate what you are going to eat so that you don’t waste food.”
Lilly Trentacosta said, “What I thought was really fun was the canoeing. It was really hard, and I knocked into things seven time, a new record, but it was still a lot of fun. I learned to cooperate with the others in the canoe to steer. Also, this year a lot of new kids came into the school, and I got a lot closer to them at Frost Valley.”
Arav Tank said, “I learned a lot on the hike. I learned to connect more with nature, and I challenged myself when crossing the cable bridges. This is a once in a lifetime experience for me.”
Finally, according to Alicia Ju, “At Frost Valley, I found out that the Earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the Earth. When I chose my bunkmates, at first I only chose people I was close to. Then I changed my mind and included people I don’t know that well so I could get to know them better.”
Although the weather was a bit cold and rainy, it did not damper the 5th graders’ experience at Frost Valley, and it is sure to be, for many students, one of the highlights of the year.
-Submitted by Jessica Pomeroy