OAK base camp web

Last month, nearly 70 students from Oak View Elementary received a hands-on opportunity to develop their teamwork and leadership skills in a unique setting.

For the second year in a row, Oak View’s fifth grade teachers – Barbara Weist, Nicole Penn, and Renae Booke – led their students to Base Camp, an innovative and interactive facility located at Fort Snelling. Once there, students had the chance to participate in activities that helped them develop their emerging leadership skills and encouraged them to work as a team.

“Fifth-grade students really are the role models for the rest of our school,” Weist said. “It’s important that they develop these skills, and Base Camp is a great place for this to happen.”

At Base Camp, Oak View students had to rely upon their classmates for support in order to conquer a tricky rock climbing wall. Weist noted this particular activity also helped students build their self-confidence and taught them that they could do “impossible” things.

After rock climbing, students took part in archery exercises, where Penn said the emphasis was on safety and following directions. The rest of the day was devoted to team building games designed with a strategic focus that required students to work together to achieve success.

The trip was made possible by a scholarship from Base Camp that paid for part of each student’s fees. The remainder of the costs were covered by a grant from the District 279 Foundation, which helps fund innovative opportunities for students in Osseo Area Schools.

“We are so grateful for both the scholarship and Foundation grant,” Weist said. “My team and I feel strongly about the value that Base Camp holds for our fifth-grade students and how they can apply what they learned there throughout the school year.”

Leadership is a key thread that runs through the fifth-grade experience for students at Oak View. In addition to the Base Camp field trip, fifth-grade students participate in morning meetings, where character and teamwork are also emphasized. They also run OVTV, the school’s newscast; serve as “Kinderbuddies” for their younger peers; and volunteer their time as student ambassadors, mentors, lunchroom helpers and student council leaders. Those opportunities are vital to their future success, according to Principal Ann Mock.

“Leadership opportunities are critical in developing efficacy in our students,” Mock said. “These opportunities not only align with our district’s mission but also allow our students to contribute to the Oak View community as well as the larger communities they belong to outside of school."

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