On March 10, Mike Stielstra and Mackenzie Westra's Hamilton High School 11th and 12th grade classroom students took a trip up north. The class went dogsledding at Nature's Kennel in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Mr. Stielstra's brother and his son, who have both raced in the Iditarod race, were able to instruct the students.
After leaving school Friday morning, the class drove to Tahquamenon Falls and stayed in a house near the dog kennel. On Saturday, the students arrived at the kennel and learned how to dogsled from their guides. Following the training, the students took off on a 20 mile adventure out to a camp where they stayed the night in a yurt cooking meals over the fire and being outdoors.
All started by teacher Mike Stielstra and now being carried off by first-year teacher Mackenzie Westra, the two are passionate about the life lessons in this trip.
"Mike wanted to give kids the opportunity to do an extreme adventure which most of them wouldn't normally be able to do," said Westra. "Going dog sledding helps students work on their independence, teaches them how to work together, and what it truly means to be a part of a team. Also, students learn responsibility and help with the many different things that are needed to take care of their dog sledding team. Those tasks were how to harness/ hook up their dogs to the sled, treat the dogs with a chunk of frozen meat after our 20 mile trip, provide the dogs with fresh hay to make a bed, and give the dogs food and water."
What a fun learning experience for the class! Take a look at the video of the trip below!