home Features Should School Camping Trips Be Brought Back?

Should School Camping Trips Be Brought Back?

Aya O’Malley | aomalley20@dtechhs.org | May 30, 2019

Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors at the bonfire in Casini Ranch, 2017

The last time d.tech had a schoolwide camping trip was 2017. Freshman and Sophomores may not have experienced the trip at Casini Ranch, but they have probably heard about it from their fellow upperclassmen. Since the beginning of d.tech, our school has provided their students a whole school field trip for a couple of nights. Student opinions on whether it should return are mixed.

A student who absolutely loved the camping trip, Junior Yamini Prasad, says “I was so excited to spend time with my @d.tech and my friends, but also having time to relax from school. I appreciated the chill, laid back vibes where we weren’t pressured to do cliche team bonding exercises. It was just really flexible and free.”

Some students think that the camping trip shouldn’t be that necessary, “There was a lot of pressure to go in the first place,” says junior Aaron Tung. “They shouldn’t make it mandatory to go and make it feel like you’re going to be left out and you’re not going to be happy if you’re not going to go.”

d.tech alumni (and my brother) Nichika O’Malley attended all three years of the camping trip. He had some stories.  “The second year was by far my favorite,” says O’Malley. “That year my friend almost drowned because he had an asthma attack and I had to go and save him. That year motivated me to be a lifeguard.”

When O’Malley became a senior, the camping trip was canceled. “I wish they gave us another chance,” says O’Malley.

Staff picture at Casini Ranch, 2017

Since then, field trips have taken the place of  the camping trip. One of them is dubbed “Mosaic”, and is a camp program at Oakland that teaches skills, empathy, and diversity for the Sophomores. Another, Fort Miley, aimed towards the Juniors, teaches team bonding and communication in a day at a ropes course located in San Francisco.

So what are these programs like? Griffin Trumpler, a junior, expresses, ”It felt like the first camping trip had the freedom and location, Fort Miley had the active areas and Mosaic had the emotional but, just, all of those are missing… Mosaic was missing activity and location, Fort Miley was missing location and using empathy.”

If we were to bring the all-school camping trip back, what do the students think we need to improve on? Junior Ibrahim Hussein thinks that “It was hard to plan, and maybe d.tech was on a budget. It’s much easier to monitor kids in smaller groups, and, of course, the drug and alcohol use [was a problem].”

However, some students feel that monitoring the students’ consumption is a losing battle. ”It’s almost like having kids nowadays do drugs and alcohol, you can tell them to stop, you can try to convince them, but most likely there’s still gonna be people who do it and you can’t really stop it,” says Tung.

Senior Liam Norr was part of the planning team during the camping trip, and gives some insight into just what it takes to stage such a huge evet. “It’s just a lot of stress to plan and it would be easier to do other trips than camping trips,” he says. “I know it’s something d.tech used to do, but it’s just too much to put into.” As for the use of drugs and alcohol, Norr says, “I think it was hard for the staff to manage the whole school in a single trip. We broke their trust and therefore our punishment was not being able to go on another trip.”

Students who were not part of the planning process, however, still hold out hope that such a trip is possible in the future. “A little more strict on the security and safety of the students but not so much to the point where it seems like the school really doesn’t trust us,” recommends Prasad, on how to combat the drugs and alcohol issue. She recommends a baggage check. “[It] is the best thing I can think of at the moment.”   

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