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Camp Eagle

JBLM students have a blast

Arleen Haro proudly dresses in her World War II sergeant’s uniform. Photo credit: Richard Baker

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Once again, Camp Eagle landed at Carter Lake Elementary School on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and gathered children under its wings to keep them on the learning path. For the last 10 years, Charter Lake has sponsored a special four-day event featuring presenters from such organizations as Fire Station 106, JBLM Lewis Army Museum, JBLM K-9, 24-Hour Fitness, Tacoma Public Utilities, Pierce Conservation District, Whispering Firs Golf Course, McChord Horseman's Club, American Red Cross, Slater Museum of Natural History, the Lakewood YMCA and other groups anxious to share their knowledge.

Carter Lake believes in hands-on learning, a chance to put theory into practice, for their military children where presenters share their expertise and knowledge. The camp heightens children's awareness of careers, a healthy lifestyle and provokes a desire to continue learning throughout their lives. Students get a chance to, not just learn from experts, but participate in events relating to what they have learned in the classroom. In this way, learning becomes more than theory.

Dillon O. stands on his toes to pose with the Camp Eagle mascot. Photo credit: Richard Baker

Charlotte Peck brought the idea to Carter Lake from her previous employer. Since then, it has been a big hit with students and presenters. The event remains a marvelous way to end the school year.

Fireman J. Kenney says Fire Station 106 has been involved with the program since 2010. They arrange the popular egg drop event where students are raised, one at a time, in a fire bucket. While in the air, the student drops an egg onto a padded and protected surface. If the student has designed the surface adequately, the egg will not break.

"There are a surprising number of successes considering the ages of the kids," said Kenney.

The kids especially enjoyed the failures, the chance to see how far the shattered eggs scatter.

Heidi Pierson, curator of the Lewis Army Museum, enjoyed bringing over various artifacts for the students to observe and to handle.

"The kids really have fun with the various uniforms," she said.

The students in historical uniforms listened intently to her information and did not lack for questions. She found this year's group especially inquisitive.

"Some years they have loads of questions," she said. "Other years they are pretty tentative."

Arleen Haro seemed especially proud of her World War II sergeant's uniform.

"I think it's pretty cool," she said.

When she traded the uniform with a fellow student, she was careful to show him how it was worn.

Before the four-day event was completed, all the students had their photos taken with the Camp Eagle mascot, and hoped he would return again next week.

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