The Outdoor Education curriculum at Camp Kern is based on three main areas, plus our nature center. Through the selection of different classes (which we call ‘trails’), the curriculum can be tailored to fit each groups specific needs and ability level. Want your students to develop a deeper understanding of biology and ecology? No problem, select trails such as Kern Critters or a River Study. Want to focus on understanding historical concepts? Easy! Select from our Ohio History trails and watch your students come alive with understanding of their past.
Ideal for groups of 8-16 students
- Deep Woods - An investigation of the fields and forests of Kern. Students journey into our 200-year old Beech/Maple forest and its surrounding habitats. Topics can include: forest ecology, plant succession, prairies, vernal pools, and natural cycles. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Trail of Time – Adventures in geology. Participants descend into a ravine to hunt for (and take home) Ordovician fossils in this exploration of our ever-changing earth. Topics can include: plate tectonics, fossilization, formation of sedimentary rock, erosion, glaciations, relationships between geology and current habitat/land use. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- The Creatures of Kern - A safari style expedition seeking out Kern fauna. Depending on the season and conditions, this can include a pond study, a visit with some of camp’s captive cold-blooded critters, a hike searching for birds, tracks, and scat, several active nature games.
- River Study - A study of the Little Miami River, its formation, history and, water quality. We will net a sample of aquatic invertebrates to do a stream quality assessment, conduct several tests of the water chemistry (dissolved oxygen, phosphate, nitrate, pH, turbidity), and also do a variety of related simulation activities. Can be done from the shore at camp or included as part of a River Rafting trip. There is an extra fee for the raft trip. Please speak to the Kern staff about availability and how to schedule.
THE GENIUS CHALLENGE (STEM)
We take advantages of the resources unique to camp and not easily replicated in the classroom. These can be done as a whole school group activity or as a small group activity. The challenges include a variety of puzzles, construction tasks, and map reading.
SOCIAL STUDIES - OHIO HISTORY
Whole Group Options (includes the whole school group at the same time)
Living History - Journey back in time to the early statehood days of Ohio. Your students, divided into small family groups, encounter our costumed staff and experience life on the Ohio frontier first-hand.
- Early Ohio - Students take part in a series of activities including an active group simulation of American Indian trade. This is followed by a meeting with General Anthony Wayne and a reenactment of the Greenville Treaty of 1795.
- Fort Ancient Hike - A hike through the scenic Little Miami River Valley and Kern-led interpretive tours of the Hopewell earthworks. A museum tour is also available. There is an extra fee.
Small Group Options (ideal for groups of 8 to 16 students)
- Old Tavern/ Archaeology - Explore the mysteries of Kern’s 1809 “Cross Keys” Tavern. Students also can visit our unique “Sun Serpent” site and try their hand at a mock archeological excavation. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Stones & Bones - Explore the legends and lifestyles of Ohio’s early settlers at the Bethel Pioneer Cemetery, located just across the street for the camp entrance. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
TEAM BUILDING & GROUP WORK
Ideal for groups of 8 to 16 students
- Survival - Challenges the students to build a fire, a shelter, and work cooperatively. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Escape - A group cooperation and obstacle course set in a theme of an enchanted pyramid. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Land of the Lost - A map and compass course challenges students to navigate their way through the brambles and fields of camp.
- Climbing Wall - Challenge yourself on one of camp’s climbing towers.
- Group Games - Teambuilding is strongly emphasized in a variety of fun and challenging ground-based activities.
- High Adventures –Ropes Courses, Zip-lines, Giant’s Swing, Mine Shaft and advanced teambuilding are all offered at Kern by our Leadership Department. There is an extra fee. Please let us know if you are interested.
FITNESS, FUN, AND HEALTHY LIVING
Unless otherwise noted, ideal for groups of 8 to 16 students
- Canoeing– Students will discover the arts of paddling and cooperation on our 10 acre Elk Lake.
- Horseback Rides – A two hour experience that includes a brief riding lesson, horse science and a 30 to 45 minute trail or arena ride. There is an extra fee. Please speak to the Kern staff about availability and how to schedule. (Typically 20 students during a two hour time slot.)
- River Rafting – (usually a whole school group activity, up to 80 students) Enjoy a raft trip on the Little Miami River paddling the three-mile stretch of the ‘Fort Ancient Gorge.” Morgan’s Canoe Livery will provide large “whitewater” rafts. This gives us optimum safety and allows for trips well beyond the typical canoeing season. There is an extra fee. Please speak to the Kern staff about availability and how to schedule.
- Friendship Bracelets – Using yarn, students make simple woven bracelets
- Candle Making – Students make their own candle the old fashion way. While this activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones, it is a complicated and demanding undertaking. Check with Kern staff before selecting.
- Ga Ga Pit – a fast action form of dodge ball. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Archery – Beginning with a brief lesson, students learn the basics of safe bow and arrows use, and then enjoy shooting at our targets.
- Tracking – A camp wide team based pursuit game. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Pioneer Cooking – Students work together to make an ice-cream and fried apple treat. While this activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones, it is a complicated and demanding undertaking. Check with Kern staff before selecting.
- River Hike - Hike to the Little Miami River and explore the history, both human and natural, of the valley. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Discovery Hike – A Kern staff member leads a rambling hike around camp’s 480 acres, focusing on what most grams the student’s interest.
- Fishing – Students are welcome to bring their own gear and enjoy some fishing at our lake and pond. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
Includes the whole school group at the same time
- Campfire - Songs, Skits, and Stories. Enjoy this traditional camp experience.
- Dutch Auction - An easily led and fun game where teams of students score points for possessing odd items and even odder talents. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Creative Dramatics - Teams of students receive the title of a legend (e.g.: How the Beaver Got a Flat tail.) They explain the legend through a skit they design and perform in front of the rest of the group. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Hoedown - Square-dancing Kern-style.
- Clue - Communication and problem solving skills are tested in this outdoor version of the board game. This Activity can be led by Teachers or Chaperones
- Night Hike - Kern staff will lead groups of students on a fascinating exploration of the night world.