Say what you want about HISD, but for many, many years, they had a wonderful tradition of sending 5th grade students to camp.
Camp for these city kids was in a national forest, about an hour and a half away. Close enough, but far away enough for them to get a taste, of not only the outdoors, but the independence that comes from being away from home for a few nights without mom and dad. Like anything else in the district, there were a couple of “go to” vendors that they used. Well staffed and well equipped to handle 5th graders’ needs, from their ravenous appetites, to their emotional stuff(being full of tween ‘tude while also still needing a nite light), all with some amazing science, nature and fun thrown in.
It’s pretty cool when you think about it, because it went on for decades and many of you have fond memories of going yourselves. And it really shows a love of not only the outdoors, but a love of their students and a willingness and understanding that not every parent has the means or the inclination to take their kids outdoors and experience all the abundant natural beauty that this great state has to offer.
Then came the #greatbudgetcutof2018 and they decided to cut the program.
Now, say what you want about HISD again….
At the very first PTA board meeting this year, the topic of funding camp with our own pta funds was brought up. Overwhelmingly, the answer was “yes, let’s do it.” Not just 5th grade parents, but Kinders on up, wanted this experience to continue.
Like my dad always says, “ain’t no hill for a stepper.”
And if there is anything this school has, it’s steppers.
Mr. Casler was passionately on board for this this, provided that every kid could go if they wanted to, as well as Ms. Pennington (#schooltreasuremorepreciousthangold) and all the 5th grade teachers. I cant imagine the amount of hours and worry Woodfin and Warren have put into this thing.
So they got a small committee of parents and teachers together September to see how this could happen. Cue brainstorming montage music…
One thing that came out through all of this (leaving out tons of details, none minor, but for brevity’s sake) was that the “go to” vendors that HISD always used on the past, still had everything set up, but they had to let a lot of staff go after losing their contracts. So that meant, if we wanted to have a real “sleep away” experience, we would need to find chaperones. For the very first time, I saw Mr. Casler be dubious about something. 1. Would parents be ok with other parents chaperoning their kids? 2. Would there be enough adults willing to go spend two nights and three days in the wilderness with a bunch of 5th graders who don’t always wear deodorant? And 3. Could the PTA fund it?
Did I mention (with a tremendous amount of pride in the amazing parents we’ve come to know and love and regard as family for the past 6 years) that 5th grade parents are the stepping-est group of steppers that ever stepped?
Did I mention with equal pride, in our PTA, who said, “yes, let’s do this!!”
So here we are. Awaiting return (as I write this) of all these 5th graders and 5th grade parent chaperones who have gotten to have this amazing bonding experience for the past few days.
Because of the school’s commitment to educating the total child. Because of the PTA’s willingness to give this to the kids. It’s the very heart and definition of why we have a parent/teacher association.
And because of the beautiful tradition HISD started, and one day, will pick up again-si Dios y the Texas legislature quiren…