North Star Camp was once again the venue for this year’s Outdoor School, an annual educational event sponsored by the Minnesota Conference for 5th-8th graders. It was incredible to see every Minnesota Seventh-day Adventist elementary school represented last October, as well as homeschoolers from three different areas. In total, we had 106 students and 25 teachers and adults.

The presenter for the week was Pastor Abner Aguilar from the Hutchinson Adventist Church. He spoke each morning and evening for group worship, holding the students’ attention with riveting stories as well as challenging them to explore their relationship with Christ in a more meaningful way. We were also privileged to have several different schools lead music at the beginning of each worship, not only drawing us closer to God but to each other.

The kitchen staff were amazing. They prepared a great variety of meals for the entire group. After each meal, the school groups were assigned jobs around camp. They helped sweep and clean the lodge, wash and put away dishes, clean bathrooms, and pick up trash around the camp. It helped keep the camp looking better than when we arrived.

Each morning after worship was finished, the students were separated into groups by grade level. A new curriculum had been developed and was introduced this year which was both enjoyable and interactive. The fifth-grade class learned about orienteering as well as fishing. A couple professional anglers volunteered their knowledge and skills to teach students about fishing. Students learned what type of bait to use, how to bait a hook, and even how to remove a fish when caught—although some were not interested in that part!

Our sixth graders had the opportunity to explore Native American studies, which included learning how to forage for edible plants and berries. Survival skills were on the list for the seventh-graders and learning how to start a fire was one of their favorites. Being surrounded by the great outdoors was perfect for the eighth-grade studies of the forest and trees. They discovered what makes a forest healthy, as well as how to identify trees by their leaves.

There were many activities planned to keep the students both entertained and busy. In the afternoon, they had four different rotations during which they decorated bird houses, did team building challenges, canoed, and learned how to use the sun to print on special paper. The kids were excited to take some of their finished work home.  Every evening, an exciting group activity was planned, from Capture the Flag in the dark with glow sticks to movie night with popcorn and cotton candy.

By the end of our time at camp, the students had not only learned a few things but made lasting friendships and, we hope, grew in their knowledge of God and His love for them. We want to send a big thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and skills, in one way or another, to make Outdoor School 2022 a success. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Dixie Fly, a member of the Hutchinson Adventist Church, is a registered nurse and mother of three children. Two of her children attended Outdoor School this year and Dixie volunteered as nurse for the event.