Camp Cavell 2012

cavell by macauley

   James Coller ’13



   As the bus winds down the narrow, tree-lined passage, twisting and turning through the woods, the mysteriousCampCavellcomes into sight. The brisk autumn air sends chills through everyone as they breathe in the mist off ofLake Huron. As everyone congregates in the lodge, the anticipation peaks of what is to happen next.

   LCN’s annual trip toCampCavellis a communications camp held on the rocky shores ofLake Huron. On Friday afternoon, November 2, 80 students journeyed to the camp, located inLexington,MI.

   Over the course of the weekend, students are split up into small groups of around 10 students. Within the groups, two teacher facilitators lead the students in discussions on the hot topics that students face every day.

   The students choose what topic they want to discuss, and nothing is off the table. Topics include cliques, family problems, dating, sports, or even drugs and alcohol. The individual groups determine what they will discuss based on what’s on their mind.

   “It was a very positive and uplifting experience,” said Spencer Palm ’14, a 2011CampCavellparticipant. “I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot about myself and about my peers.”

   Throughout the weekend, students release their deepest and darkest secrets to their peers to lift off the weight of their problems. In the end, students feel uplifted and learn to trust one another.

   “It was definitely a positive experience and an eye-opener. I got a lot out of it and it made me realize how different people are but also how they can relate to other people,” said Rachel Binge ’13.

   During the sessions, the students and facilitators gather into a circle in a warm room with plenty of Kleenex, hot chocolate, and coffee to share their own story. As everyone learns to trust each other, stories begin to spill out, and tears fall from every face in the room. Students learn that everyone has a story and the lesson of not judging a book by its cover comes to life.

   Teacher facilitators can either take the role of a moderator, to keep the conversation going, or can jump into the conversation and share their experiences and input as well.

   In addition to the discussions, students also participate in team-building challenges and compete against other groups.

   One such challenge brought the groups into the grand lodge where they faced a giant wall of webbing. The challenge: pass through the web to get to the other side. The hard part: two students can’t pass through the same hole in the web. Students then had to use team work, ingenuity, and some flexibility to lift each other through the varying holes.

   Trust became key as some students had to allow their peers to hold them, sometimes sideways and upside down in the air, as they twisted and turned to make it through.

   Students are also given free break time to embrace their new friendships and build on existing ones.

   At one point, a brave few take the polar plunge intoLake Huron. As they strip down to their bathing suits in the frigid 40 degree November air and shiver on the sand, their friends look on and shiver for them. All at once, the mass charges towards the cold water and takes the plunge amongst shrieks and screams.

    Throughout the day, everyone comes together to play volleyball, walk the beach, or even pet the resident alpacas!

   At night, students gather in the dinning hall to play euchre or just relax in the chairs. Other students circle around the bonfire and share wild stories amidst pranks and jokes.

   The entire weekend is geared toward breaking stereotypes and creating bonds.

   “It was a great experience… I thinkCampCavelltaught me to accept people for who they are because you never really know what is going on in their life,” said Paige Wilson ’13.

   According to Scott Light, math teacher andCampCavellco-sponsor, the students chosen to attend are the leaders of every clique and group in the school. The goal is to bring in a diverse group of students so that they can bring back the lessons they learn to their peers.

      “Hopefully students come back with better communication and awareness of others,” said Light.

   As the weekend comes to a close, students embrace their new friendships and spend their final time enjoying the scenic retreat. The bus ride home ends in hugs goodbye and a new outlook on life. In 48 short hours, students gain a new perspective on life.