Wednesday Wonders: Character Development in Action - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Wednesday Wonders: Character Development in Action

{photos by Michelle Dorman}

Today we have an eyewitness account of character development in our Upper Middle School kids, written by parent Michelle Dorman. Michelle and her husband Grant have four kids at SLOCA: Shelby (sophomore at sloCAHS), William (UMS), Cole (LMS) and Lucy (LMS). They are a Track A family in their 3rd year here at the school. 

If you have a UMS student, you will love hearing Michelle’s take on this event, and if you don’t have a UMS student yet, you can get a peek at what the older kids are doing and look forward to this special time! Read on to hear about this wonder-filled day with SLOCA students:

I had the privilege of spending the day with the UMS kids at the first-ever SLOCA UMS Leadership Camp.  This camp, led by Cade Newman, Ashely Walter, and Caroline Vaccaro, was an event created to invest in character building and team building activities for our UMS young women and men.

The first couple of hours were spent with our 8th graders.  Cade and Caroline led the youth in some fun team building games. They stretched the kids by encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones and meet new students whom they might not know so well.  Even though our school is small, because we have two tracks, a student can't know everyone.  The kids were great sports and did a super job laughing, working together to solve a task, and sharing a bit of themselves with one another.  

Once the 7th graders started arriving the kids were all ready to hit the ropes course at Vista Lago.  This was a great time of conquering fears and anxieties or simply enjoying the challenge of the course.  I witnessed kids really taking the time to encourage those who needed that extra push to keep going and cheering on the accomplishments of others.  On the ropes course it wasn't just the kids stepping out of their comfort zones, but Cade Newman and Caroline Vacarro were conquering some of their own fears.  What better way to teach growth and overcoming fear than to lead by example! We are so privileged to be part of a school that really seeks to promote community building and character growth and development. 

Next everyone enjoyed a break from the exhilarating adventure with some lunch and we then headed over to cool off at the Mustang Waterpark.  We couldn't have had better weather for a day at the waterpark.  Our typical Indian Summer weather was in full effect and we were all ready to cool off!! The UMS students jumped right in and enjoyed the two hour window of time to have fun with one another.  Cade, who had not planned to hit the water slides that day, could not resist the opportunity to cool off either.  He took the plunge in his jeans! It was so fun to see the teachers of these amazing students diving right in. 

I overheard girls encouraging one another to go for it on the Stampede, a heart-pounding ride with a huge, almost vertical, drop in a double tube. We adults were looking at this ride and saying, “NO WAY!” “We have no need to do that ride!”  However, as the end of our time neared, Ashley Walter, new Dean of Students at SLOCA, approached me and said, “Hey do you think we should maybe try the Stampede?”  I said, “Yes,” with a little fear and trepidation.  After some discussion we started our way up the stairs with our tube in hand to conquer our own fears and step out of our own comfort zones.  The photo says it all for me: “I WAS TERRIFIED!”  But, even though there was fear, we had our own personal cheering squad from the kids at the top of the ride as well as below.  They were shouting at us, “You can do it!”  You got this!” “WOOHOO!”  It was our own moment of fame and it felt great to have the support of this wonderful community of UMS kids. 

It was a fabulous day with many moments of wonder and excitement.  Personal and group growth was evident throughout the event. Thanks to SLOCA for partnering with us parents to help build future leaders who take the time to encourage personal growth, to delight in their own and others’ accomplishments, and to simply have fun with one another.

Thank you, Michelle for sharing about this awesome day, and for the fantastic photos! (Especially that last one… epic!) Here are a few more photos capturing some of the special moments of the UMS Leadership Camp:


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