A Subtly Different Camping Highlights Reel

By Nicholas Dal Porto

Last Wednesday, 340 Design Tech students embarked on charter busses to Casini Ranch Family Campground for a fun-filled three days of rest, relaxation, and getting back in touch with nature.

Once arrived, several @dtech classes worked valiantly to unload all of the various equipment that the students and staff had brought along for their 3 day journey. Shortly thereafter, student began setting up tents. The half-mile stretch of greenery that made up the campsites was quickly transformed into an array of tents, creating living quarters for students, staff, and chaperones.

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One of many tents inhabited by d.tech students for the three days. Photo by Nicholas Dal Porto

Students were then given free time to do as they pleased. Junior Joseph Nguyen says, “I talked to friends, chilled in my tent, and played some games. I’d say it was pretty relaxing.”

Expert chef and kitchen master, Tim Bull,  prepared his first of many gourmet meals. Dishes included tacos, pasta with marinara, and hot dogs.

“The food was amazing. Spectacular,” reported junior, Alex Lederman. “It was really good for a camping trip”.

“The food was amazing. Spectacular,”

Soon after, groups of students participated in an “amazing race”, traveling through the campground to complete different challenges in a sort of fast-paced scavenger hunt. The winning group received two bountiful and large bags of candy. Once all groups had finished, there was a restful period before quiet time began. Most elected to relax in their tents, either interacting with friends, or getting their equipment situated for the days ahead. For those that stayed outside in the common areas, there were some special treats. Several students built a fire with the chaperones, creating a warm and comfy area for telling stories and friendly discussion. Nearby, math teacher Mr. Cooley and English teacher Ms. Anderson were showcasing their combined musical talents to a lucky few students and chaperones. Both were on guitar and playing hit tunes from the 20th century.

At 10pm, everyone headed off to bed to rest for a jam packed day ahead.

Early the next morning, the campsite bloomed with life. People got up, got dressed, and headed to the common area for a hearty breakfast of cereal and baked goods. After breakfast, the various activity rotations commenced. Ethan Yu spent his time at the river, campsite, and store: “I had a really fun time hanging out with friends and playing with the ducks.”

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Ducks in the pond at Casini Ranch. Photo by Samantha Tse

One particular activity that was unique and of note was fishing. Several students and English teacher, Mr. Sullivan, spent hours down by the river with rod and reel in hand, basking in the relaxing and enjoyable nature of fishing. Some were veteran fisherman, and for others it was their first time out on the water. Nick Hom was part of the latter group and said, “I really enjoyed the relaxing feeling of being by the water and fishing with my friends.”

Once activity time was complete, a Students vs. Staff game took place. The victors were the Sophomores, in a wacky affair that saw the Juniors and Staff eliminated and the Sophomores playing the freshmen in the final match. After the game, everyone headed down to the river to cool off from the burning sun and lounge about. dtech’s new student lifeguards laid a watchful eye on students and staff as they splashed about and enjoyed the calm water, which numerous reported was the perfect temperature for the hot day.

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Lifeguards watch over swimming students and staff. Photo by Samantha Tse

Later that night the annual bonfire, put on by the Casini Ranch staff, took place. A large wooden structure, doused in lighter fluid, was lit up by the attending campground employee. Students huddled in groups – telling stories, playing guitar, and enjoying the warm glow of the flames. One of the Casini Ranch staff members even serenaded the group with an impassioned telling of the Robert Service poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. Many a s’more were eaten, and as the fire died down, students calmly returned to their tents for one last night at Casini Ranch.

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The mass of pallets and scrap wood burns on. Photo by Nicholas Dal Porto 

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