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The Gamut

Explore More field trip launches adventure, new memories

Exploring The Great Outdoors: Oxford and CVA students traversed El Dorado Regional Park on Oct. 19, on an Explore More field trip, connecting with nature. (Photo by Ms. Silberman)

The Explore More field trip is calling all adventurers to traverse the great outdoors. On Oct. 19 at El Dorado Regional Park, a group of Oxford and Cambridge Virtual Academy (CVA) students engaged in its first field trip to observe nature and step outside to take a breath from life’s daily stresses. As the program continues, with future trips in the works, coordinator and CVA teacher Mrs. Spencer hopes these experiences will develop leadership and allow students to connect with nature. 

From embarking on a two-mile hike to later wandering the El Dorado museum, students were able to observe nature’s phenomena directly. Students like Oxford freshman Trisha Hua found the experience enriching and refreshing. 

“Going hiking was a really fun way to disconnect from my busy school schedule. I originally wanted to go to hang out with my friends, but being alone with my thoughts was a super good destresser and is the biggest reason why I want to go again,” said Hua. 

Along the trails, Mrs. Spencer enjoyed hearing students’ conversations and watching them absorb the retreat from waterfalls to sunbathing turtles. Students could revel in bonding, enjoyed themselves and each other through picnics, and made lasting memories. 

“I think listening to the curiosity of students when they’re on the trail, and they’re asking questions about plants or about the wildlife that we come across, the laughter, and the freedom [was a highlight],” Spencer said.

Mrs. Spencer organized this event to create a space for students to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. Nature allowed her to find peace and quiet, which she wanted to bring to students with the field trip.

“I believe that students miss out on a lot of really great opportunities to get outside when they’re at school all day and they’re worried about academics,” said Spencer. “Sometimes, we lose sight of just taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are getting some fresh air.” 

The program initially started as a grant written for 125 students, to teach them skills about hiking, safety, and understanding trails. Ultimately, it would teach students the importance of going outdoors weekly, providing them with backpacks and gears. Currently, an El Moro hike is being planned, and excursions will get progressively more challenging. 

Mrs. Spencer won’t be the only adult on these trails though — CVA teacher Mrs. Park, Oxford teacher Mrs. Fong, and former Oxford teacher Mr. Chaldu were also recruited for assistance. 

Mrs. Fong is Oxford’s chaperone, as the grant was written as a partnership between Oxford and CVA, while Mrs. Park and Mr. Chaldu will help guide students and monitor safety training. All are hopeful for the program’s growth in the future. 

While future plan specifics are still tentative, sign-up opportunities will be open in the future. Opportunities are first-come first-serve and go by swiftly.

“You all should come on our trips with us. We’d love to have more students to come, and continue to build the program and offer more trips for students,” Spencer said.

About the Contributor
Justin Le, Staff Writer
Justin Le is a current sophomore, beginning his second year on the Gamut staff. His interest in joining the staff came from the popular 2000s television show, Gilmore Girls, one of his personal favorite series. Since one of the protagonists is a member of their respective student-run newspaper, it only made sense for him to follow suit. Additionally, some of Justin's hobbies include binging TV shows, reading from time to time, and joining sports for about a 24-hour period before promptly quitting them. Although Justin may not be very dedicated to his life as a student athlete, he is certainly dedicated to The Gamut, so much so that he sacrificed his year-long pencil pouch for the sake of keeping a stack of GamSlam brochures from blowing away. Justin’s former Word Hunt addiction might also be pretty compelling, considering he has a total of 1858 wins, more than should be humanly possible. In addition, Justin stays involved here at Oxford, as he is SCC’s Activities Commissioner, as well as an active member of VSA, International Club, and ECO. So when he's not writing moving articles about Taylor Swift, he's got a plethora of other activities to choose from.