Balarat Outdoor Education Program

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Balarat Outdoor Education Program

Miriam Medina and Ericka Aguilar, Journalist

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Balart is an amazing program that teaches high school students about leadership and companionship. Throughout this program it provides Denver Public School students with environmental studies, western history, and outdoor history. Not only does this program provide learning opportunities it has brought a great influence here at South High school bringing positive values that shapes South into a exceptional community.

Balarat Outdoor Education grants DPS high schoolers the opportunity to be a leaders and guide 5th grade students into a learning and adventures experience up in the mountains. The benefits of working as a High School Leader are great; you will grow as a leader and in addition, you earn 5 credits if you excel at your role. High school students sign up to be a leader for eight days depending on the scheduled planned out for them. Normally one trip could last a total of 2-3 days. In these day, student leaders are expected to be at their best and provide 5th graders with memories that will last a lifetime. In this experience leaders and students will hike and explore nature on a whole new level with the opportunity of sleeping over and seeing the sunrise emerge from the mountains. This is great experience for both students and leader but also it teaches younger students the importance of working together.

South has many alumni student leaders who have experienced what it’s like to be a leader and the benefits it came with. One alumni from this program is Ariel Montes. He is a senior this year at South and has been a Balarat leader the past semester and the last semester of last year. “I went to Balarat when I was in 5th grade and I could clearly remember how much I enjoyed it,” Ariel says as he recalls a familiar memory most DPS students share. “When I heard that we could sign up here at South to be a leader for other 5th graders I was excited and jumped to the opportunity just by recalling how amazing my leaders were.” Recalling the memories of when he was a 5th grader, he clearly enjoyed the experience and leaders he had. This demonstrates how important leaders are to children, we are the ones responsible to make the trip as best as possible.

Ms. Rivera is a counselor here at South who is here for students who are interested in becoming a leader at Balarat. She has also expressed her positive attitude towards Balarat:“More and more students have wanted to join this program because many previous leaders are talking to their friends and letting them know how much fun they had which is great for the students and the people who organized this program.” Ms. Rivera too went as a 5th grader to Balarat and was guided by high school leaders: “I do remember the leaders went I went up there! I remember looking up to them.”Overall Ms.Rivera knows the Balarat is unique and it provides students who don’t have the resources to experience nature and to just have fun. If you are interested in joining the Balarat leadership in the following school year, please visit Ms. Rivera in the counselor’s office in room 113. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.