Answer: Spartan running camp!
Last week we experimented with a running camp for our homeschool cross country team. Some friends from our church have a cabin on a lake, and they generously offered it to us for the week. It provided the perfect setting, because the cabin is nestled at the end of a road with nonstop MONSTER hills! (Evil chuckle from coach...)
(By the way, one more reason to love Mississippi is that the name of one of the roads nearby is Possum Trot Road!)
The boys arrived on Sunday night, rarin' to go and excited to be with their friends. We had 17 boys! In our welcome session, I explained that their day would be even MORE painful if I was awake all night. Later, I got a good chuckle when I saw that one of the only notes taken in a boy's notebook was, "Let Mrs. Heather SLEEP!" For all of their excitement, they did a great job going on to bed.boys during a session
The first full day dawned VERY early... about an hour earlier than planned, because an ambitious runner set his watch alarm for 5:45 and woke everyone up! We went ahead and had our bananas and headed for the hills (literally).
After dinner, we had an activity each night. One night the boys created commercials to present to the group, and they played board games the next.
On Wednesday, the boys packed running, strength training, a session, swimming, and cleaning for the girls into the morning hours. At lunch time the girls began arriving, and we all enjoyed lunch together. The boys headed home, and then the girls (all 21 of them!) got to stay for their turn! (another evil chuckle from coach...)
The girls' schedule was the same as the boys'. We changed board game night to making a poster with the top 10 reasons to run cross country. The girls made some pretty creative posters, and here is my top 10 list, taken directly from the 4 lists created by the girls:
10. Because my mother said so!
9. For Health and healthy habits
8. For memories and fun activities
7. You get a cool watch
6. You learn to toss your cookies (and keep running)
5. So we won't be fat and flumpy; we'll be fit and fun!
4. You learn to BOW UP!
3. You learn to work as a team
2. For our social needs, of course!
1. FOR PAIN!
The purpose of the camp was two-fold: I wanted the kids to begin to gel and become a real TEAM... I think there is some old saying about the team that gets tortured together... (just kidding!) I also wanted the kids to get motivated to begin running over the summer. If we come into August out of shape again, we will have no hope of being competitive... but huge chances of getting injuries. I thought this might be a little kick start towards both of those goals!Younger boys doing team exercise... changing places on a log
During free time, the girls spent their time doing things like holding hands and running off the drop off.
Or, they would chant each others' names while the person did a trick off the dock.
While we were at the dock, the boys took turns going out in the canoe. Several boys took turns paddling out to the eagle's nest, and a few boys even swam that far! The girls got in the canoe some, but they stayed quite close to the dock... usually paddling in circles! LOL... you did a great job, too, girls!
I can't say for sure, but the camp seems to have worked, at least somewhat. By the end of each group's time, I saw the kids getting a little stronger in their running and also becoming friends with each other.