Hiking, camping and campaigning are among the new adventures KIPPsters are tackling through the Community Adventure Program club at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy.
The Community Adventure Program (CAP) club is run in partnership with the Cottonwood Institute—a non-profit organization based in Denver that provides programing to public school students and teaches environmental stewardship, basic outdoor ethics, and leadership.
In October, members of the club visited the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge after researching local outdoor environments. They learned how to plan for outdoor adventures by developing their own itinerary and agenda for the visit. In November, the club’s members camped in tents overnight in Cal-wood—just outside of Jamestown, Colorado.
The camping trip provided lessons in how to safely start a fire and how to stay warm in the cold—which was especially useful as snow began to fall on the campsite. While they hiked and explored, students practiced using compasses and topographic maps. They finished their trip with a service project where they helped build slash piles of small trees that will be control burned to help reduce the chances of forest fires.
Throughout the year, students in the CAP club have learned to perform mindfulness through a method called “sit-spot” in which they choose a spot to sit or stand alone and channel all their senses for five minutes.
Besides learning how to navigate the great outdoors, KIPPsters are bringing back key lessons about environmental stewardship to their community.
“This group is incredibly insightful,” said club leader Eva Rain. “In the first couple weeks, we talked about things that need attention in their community and they immediately started throwing out ideas.
After weighing several different priority areas, the club decided to address environmental damage and health risks associated with idling—when a vehicle’s engine is running while not not in motion. Students observed a high number of cars being left on during school drop-off and pick-up and decided to create awareness about the impact on air quality and the damage to people’s lungs idling can cause.
In the next couple of weeks, students will be creating and distributing buttons, posters, and flyers for their no idling campaign.
The CAP club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, and is one of many after-school clubs at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, a number of which partner with outside organizations like the Cottonwood Institute to bring new opportunities and adventures to KIPP students.