In response to a student asking what their week at Educo might be like...
Just when you think you might be driving down the wrong gravel road into the middle of nowhere, you see a big sign between two trees and pull into the parking lot of the Educo sitel. You made it!
Taking your bulky backpack and other gear from the trunk, you get to make your first decision of the next few days: you pick your bunk. What looks like rough digs compared to your cozy bed at home will soon appear to be a wonderful simplicity. With so many new faces around you, it’s hard to imagine that in ten days, you’ll feel as if you’ve known these people all your life.
The first afternoon you get to know the site – the lakes, the fields, and the outhouses. As you settle in, you might take a dip in the lake, throw a frisbee, meet a few people and some zany staff. Sounds like a regular camp so far, right? Well, hang on tight. The rest of the course is a ride you won’t soon forget.
The next couple of days are a blur of climbing walls, canoes, and team challenges. By day three, you are already saying to yourself: “I did all that?!” But it isn’t over yet!
The next morning you pack your bags and head off to the mountains for the next two, three or seven days with your group. Hiking through meadows, valleys, and steep hills, you make it to new heights. As a team, you summit a peak with your group: the 360 degree views are a feast for your eyes and the wind is fresh and wild! You get the chance to see new parts of this world and maybe even some new sides of yourself. Again, you are saying to yourself, “I did all that?”
You arrive back at the Educo site, your instructor honking happily as your van pulls into the driveway. Welcomed back excitedly by other staff and students, this place that once seemed foreign starts to feel like home now. And after a week in the mountains, those outhouses are looking luxurious!
You take some time to clean your gear and yourself, maybe with a dip in the lake. When you emerge, you put on your best digs (or cleanest clothes at least) and there is a delicious graduation dinner prepared for you to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished over the week!
As the last evening plays out, you take some time to gather your thoughts on all the new things you just experienced. It becomes clear that you did something truly amazing beyond words and pictures. You did it. You had an experience that was more than just fun; it was inspiring, adventurous, and empowering, and more than likely you learned something about yourself along the way.
The final morning, Educo is a bustling place as parents pull up in the driveway. You rush out to the parking lot to give your family a hug, glowing with rejuvenation from your week. Your parents are ushered into the Rec Hall where your Open House begins. It’s time to share some stories from your week and what you’ve learned about yourself and your peers with your family. With butterflies in your belly, you stand up proudly to share all that you accomplished and the magic of Educo.
It’s time to go. You hug your new best friends and wave goodbye, with promises to keep in touch, as you head off down the gravel road to town.