Pioneer Tower and Pole Lashing

A key part of these short blogs is our shared parent/teacher analysis of what the children are getting out of our programs at TWA. It would be great to hear your thoughts and wisdom in the comments. Our local parent community wants to raise kids who can thrive in any world future. 

The Kids’ Experience:
The kids in the video below had fun being the pioneer architects of our camp. They built the original grand Academy pole structures which held the shade tarps and supported hammocks around the campfire. We started with a huge tripod, with the bottom ends anchored in deep holes for stability. The students became obsessed with trying to climb that first tripod. It seemed impossible, so I set the standard by slowly walking up one pole to the top. That set the challenge straight. The goal was now to climb with controlled balance and grace. Soon one boy mastered running up one of the poles to the top. It was awesome! Later we added a 4th pole for the younger students. And then we engineered a durable design with a second large tripod and cross-beams as seen in the video. These kids will forever know that they are capable of building a large shelter with simple materials.

The Mentor’s Thoughts:
Children learn to be creative doers by using their hands. As you can see in the photos and video below, the kids are doing manual labor that requires them to engineer a workable design on the spot. This kind of problem solving does not just bounce around inside the child’s head, and then end up only on a piece of paper. Real-world thinking creates real-world solutions. Outdoor learning conditions our students for a life of creative engagement with the real world.

Thoughts for parents:
Lately, kids are clearly spending very little time outdoors. In previous centuries, childhood was entirely outdoors. What will this generation become without that?