Middle School Adventure Trip!
Thirteen middle school students, accompanied by three chaperones traveled to Perryville, Arkansas this month to participate in a range of activities at the Heifer International Ranch. They learned about issues of poverty, starvation, allocation of resources, and food production. They also learned how they can “vote with their dollars.”
Students began the week with team-building activities such as the anaconda game, putting together huge floor puzzles, and the island game. Then they received a tour of the ranch and saw animals including goats, chickens, rabbits, cows, llamas, a turkey, a water buffalo, and two camels. They participated in livestock chores (herding cattle and chickens, milking goats, mucking stalls, bottle-feeding baby goats) and gardening (weeding, harvesting beans and beets, prepping food for the CSA in Little Rock). It was hot, exhausting work, but gratifying.
Students spent a night in Heifer’s “Global Village” where they were randomly assigned to groups in Guatemala, Thailand, or the Urban Slums. They competed for resources with one another, experienced the reward of cooperation, and generally “roughed it” in their host country. Finally getting one of the fires to take was cause for celebration as everyone vied for the opportunity to prepare the family’s meal. Who knew rice and carrots could taste so delicious!
Students enjoyed the “Just Dough It” class where they made pizza from scratch. They made the dough, harvested the herbs for the sauce, helped make the cheese, and assembled the ingredients to make two large pizzas. It was delicious! They learned the cost of producing just one tomato, from the farmer, to the picker, to the transporter, to the stock person, to the clerk to who sells the tomato. Donovan Sachs, our representative tomato, was exhausted by the end of the demonstration.
The lodge and food were excellent. Students enjoyed the peace and quiet and we were rewarded with visits from the wildlife. A small raccoon came to the deck twice at dusk, stopping once to make eye contact with Sean Herrin. It was adorable.
To balance the hard work of the ranch, students enjoyed down time at the Magic Springs Amusement Park at the end of the week. It was a fun way to end the trip, as we celebrate the culmination of a year of hard work, persistence, and growth. It was a trip filled with amazing opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.