Usually, 6th graders Sahil Parikh, Ian Jones, and Anushka Agarwal (pictured left to right) write "The Sixth Grade Times," also known as the Sixth Grade Newspaper. But for this assignment, they were invited to write an article about last month's annual Camp Storer trip for OH Connections.
In this world, there are all sorts of traditions. Many families celebrate traditions such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Holi, Kwanzaa, and much more. At Ottawa Hills Elementary School, the sixth graders last month went to Jackson, Michigan, to experience a moment of bonding at Camp Storer. Camp Storer is an echoing school tradition that the class of 2026 has now experienced.
For three days and two nights, sixth graders and their cabin leaders from the high school had a remarkable time learning and making friendships even closer, like one big family. “Camp Storer is fun, exciting, energized, eccentric, and surprising,” said Joe Davis, part of the sixth-grade family.
Our parents surely know that we loved the food. “I thought the food was exquisite and had a lot of flavors. My favorite meal was Salisbury Steak. The sauce was stupendous,” proudly stated Joe Mayer-Heckathorn, another sixth-grader. The food may have even surpassed home food, going far beyond the comfort zone but keeping to the roots of the traditional cozy home at the same time, like chicken nuggets with mini corn dogs. It may not sound spectacular, but who knows until they’ve tried it?
Classes were anything but a regular day stuck in a confined, claustrophobic room. “The activities at Camp Storer were exceptional,” added Joe. There were numerous classes, such as going to a barnyard, hydrology lessons, and even a time in the afternoon where we picked our own activity, giving us a chance to make our own choices! When a child gets to pick what they want to do, it makes them feel independent. This made the sixth graders especially cheerful about their afternoons.
What says refreshing like the great outdoors? For a change, sixth-graders escaped the tall, modernized buildings for a break - just to get some fresh air. Almost every class was outside, and the dining hall even had a gigantic window to better see nature. This point of view made the sixth grade think: “Isn’t mother nature such a stupendous thing?” And they were right.
The cabins were not run-down, microscopic rooms. Quite the opposite. Each was a huge, two-bathroom oasis the students looked to as a place to wind down. For two nights, they spent bonding time with cabin leaders in their cabins. There were card games, jokes, and even what the class of 2026 likes to call “the golden toilet seat of power.” The memory of our cabins will be treasured for years to come.
Camp was a tradition that all of us enjoyed. As sixth graders, the class spent the best times together, making quality memories as a family. Ultimately, Camp Storer was a time to make friendships even closer. As the sixth grade goes out of the classroom and into nature, they connected with the world around them.
Editor’s note: Helping to make the trip more special every year are counselors from the High School. Their leadership, compassion, dedication, and patience are appreciated every year by the 6th-grade teachers. Thank you to seniors Ben Berschback, Sarah Boice, Kaija Wallin, and Sean Yalcinkaya, and to juniors Zakaria Maaieh, Conner McCracken, Lydia Prince, and Meredith Randall.
“This is a wonderful leadership opportunity for these students and a great way for our older students to connect on a social-emotional level with the sixth graders,” said Ben McMurray, principal of the Junior/Senior High School.