"I was really looking forward to it because I like being outdoors and I like the whole idea of camping and stuff," Tate, 6th grader at Vanderhoof Elementary, said. "I was really disappointed because we weren't going to go."
Tate and the rest of the 6th grade class at Vanderhoof in Arvada were scheduled to go this week to Outdoor Lab. But, the heavy rains washed out the roads forcing students last week to hike out of the mountain campus.
"Outdoor lab is a very big deal," Tria Dassler, principal, said. "It is a rite of passage for our 6th graders."
Dassler did not want her students to wallow in the disappointment. So, instead she and her teachers encouraged students to take on a new mission for the week - help the flood victims.
"First, we created like thank you notes for the firefighters," Charlotte Blish, 6th grader, said.
They wrote letters of support. Then, they collected supplies for the animals displaced by the floods.
"We got a lot of food," Shannon Gallagher, 6th grader, said.
Finally, they launched a drive to support flood victims directly.
"It was 16, 18 big plastic bins full of food and items," Dassler said. "I'm very proud to see. It's wonderful to see the kids take such ownership."
The kids led all the efforts by making calls, organizing donations, and contacting support organizations.
"I feel really bad for those people who actually either died or lost a loved one or lost their home or lost animals," Shannon said.
Even though students did not get to experience their 'rite of passage' at Outdoor Lab. Maybe, they learned a different kind of lesson.
"I think we can accomplish a lot more than the other people might think," Tate said. "I know that other people are going to be fed."
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)