May 15, 2015
The second Sunday of camp is traditionally a choose your own adventure day. This year we are thrilled to be partnering with Salmonberry Tours to create an exciting menu of choices to further your exploration of Alaska. Take a look at the options that are available and please contact Salmonberry directly to make the arrangements. We can help with transportation and will be accompanying you on your adventure too! So talk it over, make a choice, and we can’t wait to adventure on with you! Summer Camp Options
*Keep in mind that this is your day of adventure…. If you aren’t interested in the options we are providing and if you have your own transportation, you can use that day any way you want, including, spending time with relatives who live in the area, doing something on your personal bucket list, or doing nothing at all. It’s Choose Your Adventure Day! So chat about the options and make your plans! Let Jen or I know if you have any questions! Diane
May 15, 2015
We’re finalizing details for the 2015 Summer Camp for Teachers!
Visit the Meet Campers link (on the menu bar above) and see the ‘roll call’ for our camp attendees.
Use the comment option on that page to introduce yourself!
As you visit this website, note much of this information is from previous camp sessions but a lot of the information will help you get a clear picture of what we’ll be doing.
We’ll be updating this website soon with information about this year’s camp.
June 30, 2014
Our last full day of camp was an “explore on your own” day, and it seemed like every camper headed for the glaciers! One group took a cruise to check out Portage Glacier and one group took a guided hike of Matanuska Glacier. On the hike, the teachers became the students as they challenged themselves to climb even higher on the glacier. The teachers were fitted for gear and learned how to walk in crampons – duck walk up the incline and cowboy walk down it! The guide was fantastic and gave them lots of background knowledge on the three types of glaciers found in Alaska, how glaciers are formed, and how they change over time.
At our closing session this morning, the teachers reported back on their adventures and tied them into a project that was started earlier this week. Each camper was assigned a letter from the word Iditarod and had to choose a keyword that related to the Iditarod for their letter. To this week’s campers the Iditarod embodies the themes of: Inspiration – Determination – Incredibleness – Teamwork – Achievement – Respect – Overcoming – Dreams. This morning, the campers had to relate their adventures from yesterday to their word. The words, in the form of an Iditarod Travelling Quilt, will visit each teacher’s classroom this year and will provide a wonderful way for the teachers to share their summer adventures with their students.
And so completes the 2014 Iditarod Summer Camp. But, as Diane Johnson the Education Director told them this morning, their adventure is just beginning. They now are armed with ideas, artifacts, and lessons to introduce one of the most motivating educational experiences ever to their students. They are armed and ready to bring the excitement of the race to their students! They are going to have an amazing year!
June 29, 2014
2014 Summer Camp
The sun was finally shining today as the teachers made their way to the Iditarod Headquarters for the Annual Volunteer Picnic and the first day of musher sign ups! The mushers were wonderful about signing autographs and posing for pictures with the teachers. The teachers were thrilled to cheer on their new favorite mushers, Philip Walters and Cindy Abbott! And they were just as excited to spot the “rock stars” of the sport, people like Martin Buser, Lance Mackey, Aliy Zirkle, Mitch Seavey, and Jeff King. As a perk of attending Summer Camp, the teachers were given the opportunity to have their classes adopt a rookie musher, so several new partnerships were established today. It was definitely the icing on the cake to get to see the sign ups in person after learning about the race all week!
June 28, 2014
2014 Summer Camp
This morning was about bringing all that we have learned at camp back to our students in our schools. Many lesson ideas and thoughts were shared as the teachers began to try to formulate how the Iditarod will look in their classrooms this year. Will the Iditarod be their classroom theme? Will it drive their math curriculum? Is there a book or two that can be added into the reading class? Will the qualities they see in Iditarod mushers and teams become qualities they infuse into their character development lessons? Will their social studies curriculum include information about the geography and history of Alaska? The possibilities are endless… and the teachers will each have to figure out the ways to make it work best for them. And in doing so… they will motivate their kids in ways they have only begun to imagine!
This afternoon we met with Dr. Stu Nelson, the chief Iditarod veterinarian, who shared with the teachers wonderful information about the exemplary care the dogs are provided with on the trail. These dogs are elite athletes and the care and attention to detail given to them reflects that in every way. The dogs are all screened prior the start of the race to ensure they are in tip -top shape for the race ahead. Each dog is also microchipped. The teachers were very impressed to hear that Dr. Nelson personally calls each musher to discuss the results of these initial tests. The rookie mushers and the rookie vets participate in a series of pre-race workshops. The dogs are also evaluated on the trail by a virtual army of vets who work in conjunction with the mushers to ensure these canines are good to go!
The campers are gathering their autograph collection supplies for tomorrow’s picnic! Be sure to follow the Iditarod Trail Facebook page, as we’ll be updating it throughout the day to bring you the sign-up action as it happens!
June 27, 2014
At summer camp, the learning never stops!
Today the campers had a chance to visit the Alaskan Native Heritage Center to learn about the five cultural regions of the state of Alaska and the people who traditionally inhabited them. The Native Heritage Center is a rich resource for anyone who is seeking to better understand the native people of Alaska.
The teachers were treated to a demonstration of the Native Youth Olympic games. The Native Youth Olympics includes events that are based on games played by the native people as a way to test their hunting skills or increase their strength, agility, balance, and endurance. They tested skills that the native people would need in their traditional, subsistence way of life. Today, it’s a magical demonstration of grace, athleticism, grit, and determination.
While at the center, teachers had a chance for yet another dog cart ride! This time, upon reaching the Team Baker section of the center, the teachers had a chance to learn about native musher John Baker. They were then given a ride with a team of dogs that competed in last year’s Iditarod with Newton Marshall. And of course, no one could resist holding a puppy!
The afternoon was devoted to exploring Anchorage. Teachers found themselves with a wide variety of things to choose from: visiting the Alaska Zoo, see the movie Aurora, visiting the Art Museum, or shopping for artifacts to take back to their classrooms!
June 26, 2014
2014 Summer Camp
Today we had a rainy, field trip filled day at Summer Camp. We started out the morning by visiting the Dorthy Page museum. Dorthy Page is considered the “Mother of the Iditarod” for her contributions in helping to establish the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. At the museum, we learned a little of the history of the Wasilla area. The building that now houses the museum was built in 1932 and served as the Community Hall. Through the displays we learned about the mining, homesteading, and native history of the area. They also had a small display on the Historic Iditarod Trail and the Iditarod Race.
After the museum, we zipped over to the Iditarod Race Headquarters where we met up with Barbara Redington who shared information and stories about the Junior Iditarod. The teachers were impressed to learn about the scholarships that the junior mushers can receive. Lyden, the race sponsor, provides scholarships for the kids that can be used for any educational endeavor. Barbara told us that students have used them not only for college, but also for activities like vet school, vo-tech training, and pilot lessons. Barbara also shared some stories from both the history of the race and the most recent race itself. There are six mushers from last year who are able to return to this year’s race and they have heard of a few others who may sign up, so they are hoping to have a strong field this year.
At headquarters, the teachers also has a chance to watch the film Why Do They Run? which a wonderful way to introduce kids to the world of sled dog racing and what makes these dogs such a perfect match to the race and Alaska in general. They also had time to explore the museum at headquarters and take pictures of all of trophies and other historical artifacts. Ten time Iditarod race finisher Raymie Redington gave the teachers cart rides. The dogs who pulled them today ran in the Iditarod last year with Nik Petit and may run with him again in 2015. Raymie told us the they could be the winning dogs!
After lunch the teachers visited Jon and Jona Van Zyle at their home and kennel. It’s always a treat to visit them. Their hospitality is second to none and just to be in their space gives you a creativity boost! Jon is the official Iditarod artist and creates two pieces of art for the race each year. The teachers visited Jon’s studio and heard some stories of dogs and racing … and even a cat story or two thrown in! We did go out the kennel, even though it was raining, to visit their amazing huskies. These dogs live the life…. beach umbrellas for shade and a tree house to play in! Jona and Jon turned the pups loose to have “recess” and then when it was time to finish it up Jona called,” Okay, time to get to work” and each dog returned to his or her own house! It was easy to visit them in the rain, because they are trained to get up on their houses to be petted, so no muddy paw prints get on your chest!
I bet the teachers wished their students were just as well behaved!