2017 Elementary Adventure Camp
By Jonah Huber
Our annual trip for senior elementary school students to Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (CRMA) was a great success this year. Unlike last year, we had excellent weather and enjoyed our time outdoors under optimum conditions. CRMA is close to the school; it only takes about an hour to get there. We had a quick start to our adventure by doing a station tour with kayaking, zip-lining, bicycling, target practice, and archery. The students really enjoyed the chance to participate in each of these activities in the beautiful landscape on which CRMA is located.
After checking in to our lodging and eating lunch, we met up with the soldiers who would be our guides and teachers over the next 24 hours. These knowledgeable and kind men and women taught us much about surviving in the forests and jungles of Thailand. We learned how to tie knots; identify edible plants, and find water from particular vines. We also got a taste of military discipline, learning to follow orders and comply with commands! A brisk hike through the incredible foliage lead us to a stream that flowed through soapstone, giving the water a bluish cast. Tracing the stream, we found a clearing in which we prepared food with the water we had packed in. The soldiers prepared fires with tinder and bamboo over which we cooked rice and fried eggs in a trench shovel! The students had a wonderful time. Later, students learned to use a slingshot and walked to a remote temple carved from the mountainside. Our descent was long and technical. Students were to be commended for making it through with no injuries and a positive attitude!
The second day of our trip opened with a 6 am egg hunt on the grounds. Students loved searching for these brightly colored treasures in the grass and shrubs overlooking the spectacular CRMA campus. The sunrise was truly incredible! After breakfast, we continued to train with the military. We practiced marching our way to several training courses. Students traversed a rope bridge over a swamp, climbed over log walls, swung on free floating rope ladders between the branches of a high tree, and crawled through a long concrete section of piping. Students accomplished all this with camouflage war paint on their faces and an undaunted spirit! Many students found strength they didn’t know they had. Everyone was grateful to the soldiers for their expertise and patience in teaching us all.