On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, students excitedly arrived at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center for Year 2 of the Tiger Woods Learning Center's Summer Academy.
As they arrived, the kids joined in some fun icebreaker games that allowed them to meet new friends and learn about their fellow campers. Local Southern California students were joined by others who traveled from all over the United States, including a group from the Learning Center campuses in both Washington, D.C., and Florida. The 117 campers represent 17 states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and North Carolina.
At first, the campers were timid as they adjusted to their new surroundings, but as soon as they started participating in group activities led by the Learning Center staff, the energy and excitement grew. Zip, Zap, Zop -- a game where players must make eye contact with another person in the circle while saying "zip," "zap" or "zop" -- brought laughter and smiles to their faces. Many of the campers bonded as they realized that they came from military families or from Learning Center campuses around the country. The things they had in common helped them bond and feel more comfortable right off the bat.
The introductions continued as the campers learned who their cabinmates would be and chose their bunks and bunkmates. Dinner was served and soon after, they were ready for zip-lining and night hiking. The hike focused on navigating through the wilderness at night and the importance of communicating with one other. Along the hike, they learned fun facts about different animals and their natural habitats.
It was then lights out for the campers, as they excitedly anticipated what fun would come the next day and the rest of the week.