Community! Students in sixth and seventh grade go camping at the start of the school year to build community and get to know one another. During the month of September, the Fetterman, Gondi and Kalkstein sixth-grade classes each camp for four days at Hickory Run State Park. The students shop for and prepare all of their food together and engage in team-building and outdoor activities, including the stream walk, exploration of a huge boulder field and a silent night hike without flashlights.
The entire seventh grade also goes camping together in September for three days and two nights. For the past several years, the students and faculty chaperones have loaded up the buses and ventured to Camp Mason, a YMCA camp on a 650-acre site north of the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey. As there are usually about 15 to 20 new students in seventh grade, this is a great opportunity to welcome them to GFS and allows them to get to know their classmates and teachers in a less formal setting. Students choose from a variety of incredible opportunities and activities, engage in small group-building and outdoor-challenge activities, such as white water rafting and rock climbing, and sit around crackling campfires with friends making s’mores.
Eighth graders conclude their final year in Middle School with a celebratory overnight camping trip to Pine Forest in Greeley, PA. The camp facilities are generously donated to GFS by the Black family, parents of Lee ’04 and Anna ’01. This trip serves as a wonderful culmination of the Middle School experience where sports are played, skits are performed and the students reminisce about the past year and look forward to the summer ahead.