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Counting Down the Top 40 Foundation Grants of All Time #9: Camp Blodgett 6th Grade Team Building

photo of kids at camp blodgett

Middle school can be hard. But it can be easier if you have a friend. For the last three years, the Foundation has been funding a team-building experience at Camp Blodgett for 6th graders, right when students from all three elementary schools meet up for the start of middle school. 

In 2021, we wrote this account of the first year of the grant:

Thanks to our donors, the Foundation was able to help fund a trip to Camp Blodgett for all the 6th graders last week. Listening to 6th grader Matthew Steketee, it sounds like the trip was a big hit. “I loved going to Camp Blodgett!” he says. “My personal favorite was the rock wall. It was super fun.”

Sixth grade teacher Jill Smith, on behalf of the 6th grade team, wrote the grant application along with Middle School Principal Jeff Dykhouse. “I have wanted 6th graders to have a camp experience for a long time,” Smith says. “It provides a fun and unique way for them to get to know students from our other elementary schools and start building relationships that will hopefully last and grow throughout middle school and high school. A camp experience also allows students to problem solve in different ways and gives them an opportunity to step into a leadership role that they might not have in the normal classroom setting.”

Smith says seeing the kids enjoying themselves on the trip was proof of the value of the grant. “They were so genuinely happy to be outside and to be together,” she says. “The group I was with sang the entire hour on the bus there. It was pure joy. I think coming off of a year and a half of no field trips, Camp Blodgett provided a great setting for them to reconnect with nature and with each other. They were able to relax, have fun, and see each other in different ways outside of class.” 

Students loved the trip too. "I got closer with some new people, and now we are friends," says Lucy Taylor.

Another 6th grader, Jackson Reid, says, “Everyone was super friendly there. They pushed you out of your comfort zone, which is exciting because you are trying something new."

"Camp Blodgett was fun and exhilarating,” Camilla Volovlek says. “It was filled with the air of friendship." 

Thank you, Foundation donors, for making this possible. You can help support our mission of investing in educational enhancements for all our students on our Donate page.