CAA Students Seek Adventure at Home and Away

May 03, 2017 | Stacy Knight

For Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) students in Battle Ground, Wash., spring break means adventure. With two exciting school trips to choose between, nearly half of the student body took advantage of the chance to travel and experience new things.

Twenty-two students hadn’t yet had enough of winter’s chill and packed their warmest clothes to head off to Alaska’s Matanuska Valley for a mission trip. The main project was building a bunk cabin for Camp Tukuskoya summer camp, along with completing some building repairs and clearing trees and brush.

They also took time to visit a veterans’ retirement home in Palmer, Alaska. For sophomore Mitchell Powers, this was the high point of the trip. The objective was to simply visit with the residents: to sit with them, to listen to them, to hear their stories. Talking and listening turned to singing and sharing music. Powers enjoyed this time of fellowship and singing and shared the pure joy of seeing one of the residents, an elderly man, dancing with one of the workers at the home. 

During their breaks from work, students went sledding, tried ice fishing, and enjoyed time to bond with one another and worship together. Students also particularly enjoyed the beauties Alaska offers. Hayden Sherrill, a junior, found the mountains “impossible to describe,” while Lauryn Farnsworth, a sophomore, said Alaska was “the most beautiful place [she’s] ever been.”

Others will never forget getting to see the northern lights. Another highlight for many was a trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and a chance to see bears, moose and other wildlife up close. 

Another 17 students, along with several staff and parents, took off for Europe for a 12-day tour of London, Paris, the Alps and Prague. They enjoyed guided tours of the cities, learning about the local culture and history from the tour guides.

Sophomore Katherine Westcott loved “seeing all the things [she’s] heard so much about,” such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Alps. “I learned that you never really know the value of things until you see them for yourself,” she explains. Gaby Irias, a senior, was especially impressed with the Louvre and its collection of beautiful artwork.  

The busy tour schedule still left them free time for exploration, and students took the opportunity to discover local spots, shop for friends and family back home, watch street performers, and eat new foods — and lots of it, for some students. Switzerland’s chocolate was a particular favorite and would be “worth another trip,” according to sophomore Cassy Koller. Some students even took time to play golf in Prague. 

It wasn’t just CAA’s traveling groups that got to try out a few new things. When the groups left with two days of school still remaining before spring break, the rest of campus took a break from the normal routine. They made “ice cream in a bag,” built craft-stick buildings and tested their strength on an earthquake simulator, built and launched soda bottle rockets, and competed in an egg-drop contest with their intricate and unique egg vessel designs.    

Whether enjoying Alaska’s beauties, Europe’s monuments or something different in CAA’s own familiar setting, CAA students found a taste of adventure and excitement during this year's spring break.