Nature hikes, waterfalls, ice-cream, cows, log cabins… it’s KEEP!

Grade 6 student Young Kim reports on the annual KEEP (Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project) outdoor adventure trip.

The KEEP trip was a great experience for bonding and connecting between 6th graders and the nature of Kiyosato. Fears and worries about stepping away from parents, homes, and especially electronics was common within all the students, but my worst fear was the cabin choosing. I believed that if I weren’t with my best friends, I wouldn’t be able to have a good time. But I was wrong, spending time with different people and various groups of friends let me learn more about other students rather than my usual group of friends. My cabin was the “Yokohama Cabin” with Mrs. Erwin, and I was actually put with one of my best friends. Doing the SEL skits and working as a team helped us get more comfortable around each other. And by the end of the trip, our whole cabin was playing card games, drinking hot cocoa, and enjoying our time together until the end.

Going to the cow farm was not my first experience, but it was much, more fun doing it with all my friends. Milking, herding, and feeding the cows was a lot of fun. It smelled a lot, and I even stepped in some cow dung, but I feel like that was the part I could never skip. We learned the process of making the milk that we drink everyday.

Hiking was an activity around nature that we all much enjoyed. We visited the peaceful waterfalls, crossed the famous red bridge, and took a bunch of photos. When we finished the long journey, everyone was tired and sleepy, but they wanted to go back again. As soon as we arrived, we got tickets to buy the famous Kiyosato ice-cream. It was the best seller, and I could tell. It was creamy, delicious, and fresh, all the students must have agreed because some of them even brought home a ice-box full of it.

Our night hike was very interesting. We did experiments with our eyes and a candle out in the pitch dark, and looked at the stars that spread along the sky. Watching the beautiful view, we all talked about the whole trip, wanting to start all over again.

At the end of the trip, groups traveled with their ranger to the woods and made a shelter that expressed something of the trip. Our shelter expressed our cabin because it was the place we shared laughs together, where our friendships got stronger.

The KEEP trip brought 6th grade together as a team to have a wonderful time at Kiyosato. We made new friends and closer relationships. What amazes me is that we became so close in just 3 days. I thank KEEP for bringing the whole community together to create a new bond. (Young Kim, grade 6 student)