Eagle’s Nest as a Community of Learners
Last semester, I had the pleasure of taking an educational psychology class. During class one day, my professor asked the whole class what we thought about having a community of learners and how to implement that in a classroom. My immediate thought went to camp, and I could not shake this thought for the rest of the semester. Although camp is not a traditional school setting, it illuminates the exact purpose and practice of a community of learners.
Hi! My name is Jordy, and I am currently a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder studying English with an emphasis in literature, a minor in Spanish, and I am also pursuing a licensure in elementary education. I did not start college on this track, and it is because of Eagle’s Nest that I am here. The community that Eagle’s Nest fosters is what lead me to what I am studying and to wanting to be a teacher.
Earlier, I mentioned a community of learners. The best way to describe this is to think of a setting in which all learners and educators alike are on an equal playing field. The educators are comfortable admitting when they do not know, and they are open and willing to learn from their students. The students not only learn from their teacher, but from their peers as well. In discussing this practice in class, my peers struggled to think of an example within a traditional school setting. I experienced the opposite: I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut about how Eagle’s Nest is the perfect example of this.
At Eagle’s Nest, whether counselors and campers know it or not, all of us are participants in a community of learners. Counselors value learning from their campers, and campers are ready to learn new skills with each class meeting. Not only that, but campers are encouraged to teach one another in their classes. The beauty of this situation is that counselors do not necessarily feel like they are “teaching” and campers do not necessarily feel like they are “learning,” yet it is a community that comes naturally at Eagle’s Nest.
Growing up at camp and experiencing this community as a child empowered me to be a thinker and to encouraged me to be curious about how the world around me functioned. Continuing to return to camp as a staff member has proven to me that being in a setting where teaching and learning is a natural relationship is something that I want to continue to do with my life. Even though I write lesson plans for my classes at Eagle’s Nest, I know that my lesson will never be fully scripted because there is always room for me to learn from my campers. The awe that this community of learners has left me in continues to inspire me to implement a similar community in a traditional classroom, and to provide the same community feel that camp gives at school.
Jordy Frankel has worked on staff at Eagle’s Nest Camp in a variety of different positions since the summer of 2015. This summer she’ll be returning to be one of the Coordinators and mentors for the Junior Counselor program, to lead singing in the Dining Hall, direct the musical and keep us smiling and happy. We’re thrilled that Jordy is pursuing teaching as a career. You can learn more about Jordy’s thoughts about camp by watching the camp video.