Every year the 4th graders attend outdoor education at Coloma. This year, Grace Jedi mind-tricked me into applying, partially and ironically as a way to earn back my trust level with Lucas for sending him to … summer camp. I applied and won the “lottery!”
The truth is that I didn’t even know where Coloma was until a couple days before the trip. In my mind, it was in the Santa Cruz mountains. In reality, it’s in gold country, northeast of Sacramento. As we all learned on the trip, it was where gold was first discovered in 1948, which led to the gold rush the following year.
Although I had some things at work hanging over my head, having zero cell reception was as good excuse as any to unplug for a few days and immerse myself in the experience. As the parents and faculty were seeing us off, there seemed to be an equal number of thank yous and good lucks, striking a balance between gratitude and fear.
Sure we know 34 4th graders have the potential to be a rowdy bunch, particularly the boys with whom I bunked, but really they’re a super awesome group of kids. I got to know the 3 teachers, 5 other parent chaperones and most importantly the kids a lot better over the three days and two nights away from home. I even learned more about Lucas, observing him with his classmates in this beautiful setting away from school.
I was super impressed with the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School (CODS). The staff were great with the kids, being inclusive and attentive to individual needs and personalities. The program was educational not only about the history of the gold rush, but also about respecting nature and the earth. One evening a direct descendant of the native people who inhabited the Coloma area long before the 49ers arrived gave a rich account of her people and also a challenge to each child to make a difference in their communities. I thought it was awesome.
That doesn’t really cover everything we did and saw during our time, but the pictures hopefully fill in the rest. I feel very fortunate to have spent this time with this group and hope Lucas will remember sharing it with me, too. Thanks to The Carey School for having me along.