Camp Hanes

Each year, eighth graders at The Franciscan School make a 2-hour drive to King, N.C. to spend a full day at Camp Hanes. Set in a beautiful mountain town just north of Winston-Salem, Camp Hanes is an outdoor recreation experience run by the YMCA. The purpose of this trip is to provide students with an opportunity to participate in team building and leadership activities. 

For more than 15 years, this was a 3 day, 2-night trip. But because of COVID, the trip is now a long one-day trip, with students leaving before 6am and returning to TFS after 9pm. Transportation and all three meals at Camp Hanes are included. 

This year, administrators made a significant change to the program. In the past, the trip was held in late September or early October, which was 4-8 weeks after the 8th graders assumed their leadership roles as students. Now, students will be taking the trip at the end of their 7th grade year. “The motivation for this change,” says Colette Dziadul, Assistant Principal for Middle School, “is to give those leadership and team building skills to 7th graders so they can start their 8th grade year ready to be the student leaders in service to God and one another.” While our 8th graders attended this trip in the Fall, our 7th graders will attend their trip on Monday, April 24th. We will continue this tradition for students at the end of their 7th grade year.

Camp Hanes 3

While at Camp Hanes, students engage in a number of outdoor activities, such as climbing various walls, climbing a power pole, canoeing, a teams ropes course, an uphill mile-hike, archery, and a v-swing. Students are placed in five groups with peers who they are not normally associated with. This is done intentionally to encourage students to work together and support each other as a community of one. Patsy Thieken, Middle School Math Teacher, says, “Many of the students have been together for years at TFS and know each other well. Because of the way the teachers set up the groups, we know that they are not with their closest friends; yet they all encourage and support one another.”

Thieken continues to share that students yell and cheer for every accomplishment, knowing that it’s very difficult for some of their classmates. “We also see leadership emerge in different ways – quiet support, boisterous encouragement, and everything in between.” The beautiful surroundings inspire the students to engage in physical activity and challenge themselves both mentally and physically. 

Screenshot 2023-04-22 at 11.55.10 AM

Quin Roberts, 8th grader, shares that: “I wish we had been able to stay longer. My favorite activity was the v-swing.” And classmate Peyton Owens says, “I loved the rope hammock at the top of the climbing wall. You could see forever. I wish we could go back!”

The experience at Camp Hanes is meant to strengthen the relationship between students, but it  also helps strengthen the relationship between teachers and students. Dziadul admits that although she’s attended the trip for seven years, she has yet to climb the power pole, despite heavy encouragement from students. This year was different. Dziadul shares that, “After 7 years, I conquered the power pole! All the students in the area were cheering me on, all the way to the top. The connection on this trip is not just made with the students, yet with the teachers and administrators who not only chaperone but participate in all the activities.”

The camp activities and exercises are also designed to help students develop important skills such as communication, trust, leadership, problem-solving, and cooperation. Overall, the Camp Hanes trip is a memorable and invaluable experience for our students. We look forward to hearing from our 7th graders about their upcoming experience!

Leave a Reply