Form 3 Embraces Nature, Adventure, and Community to Start the Year

Students in Form 3 kicked off the 2022-23 school year by heading north to Camp Merriwood in New Hampshire for three days of adventure, learning, community building, and celebration. Donning camping gear, sneakers, and leaving electronics behind (eek!), the group focused their energy on a host of activities and experiences.

One primary focus at Kingswood Oxford is hands-on, authentic learning, an extension of the classroom into the surrounding environment.  Form 3 students had begun studying water in environmental science and took advantage of the natural resources near camp to put their water testing skills to work. They waded in multiple streams near Merriwood and collected samples, fixed the oxygen content, and then tested the oxygen levels by titrating.

Students also took CPR classes and were introduced to map orienteering. Faculty members Fritz Goodman and Graham Hegeman led various groups on excursions around the lake where they would get their groups lost…by design. Having been introduced to map orienteering, students used their newly acquired skills to find their way back to camp. All did, but interestingly, each group found very different routes home.

Other opportunities included mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. Rock walls and a zipline provided extra entertainment as did a group favorite called the “Holy Cow” swing which would shoot riders out over a stream. As one might guess…the phrase became so common when people launched into the air that it stuck. 

Finally, students visited a local New Hampshire fish hatchery that releases over a million fish at six different locations. Refurbished trucks and even helicopters carry over 75,000 fish to be released throughout the state. Faculty member and history teacher Tricia Watson said, “It was wonderful for our students to have the opportunity to find out how they can help in the conservation and learn about ways to be involved.” 

The camp day started with a clear bell that gave students and chaperones a 15 minute warning for wake up time and ended with a solid dose of good old storytelling around a campfire (scary ones were a group favorite), and of course, snacking on s’mores. 

The groups slept in cabins and dined ‘all hands on deck’ family style where each student was responsible as a food runner or clean up crew. Students realized how each task was an essential duty. Watson said, “It was an opportunity to learn that when we work together things get done efficiently.”

What an incredible way to begin the school year and the change to reconnect with old friends and make new ones! The faculty chaperones remarked that the Merriwood trip offered a tremendous community building experience and further transformed the group to be closer and more inclusive than ever. Form 6 Dean and faculty member David Hild said, “A lot of kids tried a lot of new things and got out of their comfort zone.”
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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