Nature’s classroom: Holmen High School class teaching survival skills and teamwork to students

Holmen high school students learn how to survive outdoors while learning life skills and building relationships

HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) – Accomplishing a goal requires good communication and teamwork. A group of teachers at Holmen High School wants every student to know they belong to a team. Achievements are the outcome of people working together as one.

“We’re building our winter shelters,” said Caleb Lee, a senior at Holmen High School.

Caleb Lee and his fellow Holmen classmates understand what it takes to work together on a common goal.

“Everybody has different ideas,” Lee said. “They wrapped theirs in twine and put their stick in there.”

But to be part of this team everyone must earn their place.

“They planned all these shelters themselves,” said Steve Eggerichs, an adaptive physical education teacher at Holmen High School, who leads a class called Universal Adventure and Outdoor Pursuits.  

And set aside life’s distractions, be present in the moment, and embrace nature’s classroom.

“Being out here is just a nice to get away from all that,” Lee said.

The global pandemic remains fresh in these students’ minds.

“Not be able to see friends that much; it hurts. But being out here helps with that because we get to come out here; help each other,” Lee said.

“Teach them about responsible decision making,” Eggerichs said.

Living through a pandemic makes learning to survive the elements of a Wisconsin winter a breeze.

“I never thought I was going to live through a pandemic,” Lee said.

And they take away real-life knowledge.

“Team building, fun creativity, idea building. Friend making,” Lee said.

Their own community — a place where everyone belongs.

“It’s just really good to see people that generally don’t hang out together during the school year get together and treat each other with respect and kindness,” Eggerichs said. “They and they look out for each other.”

A night spent under the stars due to their vision and hard work. An achievement born from a group of individuals understanding what a community can build. Holmen has offered this opportunity to students over the past 15 years.

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