Outdoor Ed

Ropes Course with Eagle River 5th Grade – May 21, 2105

Thursday, May 21, 2015, we were joined by 56 5th grade students from Eagle River Elementary School for a day on our ropes course and low elements. It was a great day spent outside!

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Rockin’ Robins #3 – May 15, 2015

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It was the last meeting of Rockin for this year and what a full adventure it was for all. The big project was constructing a bug box. Not only did the sound of hammering fill the air, but the look of deep concentration on the faces of the little buddies was intense. Of course, the next event was looking for bugs. Dissecting of owl pellets was also an interactive time and many bones, skulls, feathers, and such were identified. Steve Creech, from Purdue University, gave a great demonstration of how owl pellets are formed and then regurgitated. His imitation of an owl call was also very amazing.  Dustin showed his turtle and discussed the development of the salamander eggs and Linnea Johnson read two stories which were enjoyed by all. Twenty-five little buddies and twenty-five big buddies were in attendance. What a great way to end. A special thanks goes to each big buddy, CPBC staff, and John Menucci for his wonderful work in preparing all the bug box pieces for easy construction.

We look forward to seeing the kindergartners again next May, and many of the 1st graders for our 2-day intro camp this summer (http://www.cpbc.com/summer/mainland/2-5/)!

Rockin’ Robins #2 – May 8, 2015

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The second Rockin Robins time was filled to the brim with activity and discovery. After a snack of soft pretzels and milk, a bird wheel was made, binoculars were passed out, with big and little buddies going into the woods in search of birds. The project  was making a bird feeder with seeds out of toilet paper rolls and a yarn nest pine cone display so birds could gather materials for their spring nests. Both were taken home to adorn trees and carefully watched for bird activity. A story read by Erik Strom and a brief play time concluded the time. Dustin was able to gather salamander eggs which can be seen in the aquarium in the nature building.

Rockin’ Robins Celebrates 15 years

Last Friday, we kicked off our 15th year of Rockin’ Robins (West Iron County, K-1st after school nature program which links little buddies with big buddies to explore the outdoors), followed by a celebratory pizza dinner for all of the “big buddies” from the past and present. With a lovely snack of pudding, gummy worms, and banana bread to begin the time, Dustin showed his salamander to each group. Next, the little and big buddies went for a hunt to find signs of spring which were plentiful due to the warmer temps recently. They made small sail boats and launched them on Hagerman Lake. Story time was led by Megan Nyberg and everyone enjoyed being outside while she read. The happy faces of the little buddies show how special this program is to these young explorers.

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May 4th, 2015: Goodman – Armstrong Creek 5th and 6th Grade

5th and 6th grades from Goodman – Armstrong Creek school district joined us at camp for a day of teambuilding activities, outdoor fun, and high ropes. It was a great day!

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3/3/15 – Northstar Hospital Leadership Development

Our local Northstar Hospital administration team joined us yesterday for a day of leadership development and team-building. The group met in our chapel building for their sessions, and had lunch and team-building activities that focused on communication in our dining hall. The photos shown are of the “marshmallow challenge” in which small teams worked together to build a structures of spaghetti noodles, tape, string, and a marshmallow. Though a valuable experience for all, not every structure stood.

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For more information on team-building or outdoor education at Covenant Point, check out http://www.cpbc.com/aote-outdoor/ or email dustin@cpbc.com.


Hagerman Lake Fish Habitat Project – 2/21/15

Today ten “fish cribs” were built on Hagerman Lake to provide habitat to fish once the ice melts and the structures sink. The project had helpers from The US Forest Service, MI DNR, Iron County Wildlife Unlimited, Covenant Point, and the local community. The project was headed up by the US Forest Service and MI DNR. Thanks to all who were there!

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Agents of the Earth School Groups

Last week finished up our spring season of Agents of the Earth Outdoor Education field trips for area schools.  We’ve had a great time sending students up the Track and Trail and lead team-building activities.In the past two weeks we’ve had Goodman-Armstrong Creek 5th and 6th grades, Eagle River 5th grade, Forest Park 8th grade, and Iron Mountain 5th grade. It was great to see the students challenging themselves on the high ropes, some of them doing it for the first time!  And of course, a time at camp wouldn’t be complete without a few games running and yelling games!
We’re looking forward to the summer season at camp and welcoming new staff members and campers!
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Rockin Robins Week 3

The grand finale for Rockin Robins took place on May 16.  Twenty little buddies came for the three sessions.  This week the children were filled with great excitement and enjoyed their time interacting with their big buddies.  Activities that took place were listening and repeating bird calls, making a bird wheel, learning to use binoculars on a bird viewing hike, and planting flowers in the big pots at camp.  Children were able to pick two flowers and plant in peat pits: one to take home and one to give to their big buddies. Our guest reader was Courtney Strom who read a story and taught the kids a song accompanied by Erik Strom on the guitar. Special thanks goes to all who volunteered their time to help make this year special for these Rockin kids: Bob Evans, Deb Snow, Betty Honald, Marilyn Malmquist, Verl and Jack Hudson, Steve and Suzie Sands, Wendy Benkley, Don and Mona Sarder, Ed and Jan Chantiny, Paul and Megan Nyberg, Dave and Betty Lindahl, Janice Meyer, Tom Emerson, Dan Strom, Nathan Frasier, and Lynn Wierda.  Covenant Point staff was also vital in making the experience come alive.  Many thanks to all!

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Rockin Robins Week 2

Eighteen little buddies and big buddies participated in Week 2 of Rockin Robins. Despite lots of standing water in the woods, the weather allowed for outdoor fun. During snack time, the children saw and touched a salamander and turtle as Dustin shared about each one. Next, big and little buddies took to the forests on a hunt looking for various natural items such as a bird nest, pine cone, flowering plants, bugs, and birds. The big project was making a bluebird house. Lots of pounding and nailing went on for some time as big and little heads were bent over their wooden bird structures. No damaged fingers were reported. The time ended with our guest reader, Erik Strom, reading a story, and two bird calls, a chickadee and cardinal, by the little buddies.  As they boarded the van to go home, the children were loaded with not only their bird houses, but also a seed bird feeder that they made the week before!

Thanks again to all of you for making this time special.

Enjoy these pictures!

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West Iron County Kindergarten Days

It was an active, fun-filled learning day for 83 kindergarteners on May 7 and 8. The children participated in a nature program called Life Cycles. The day began with Nature Tag in which various nature related objects were called out and then tagged by the students. Students ran to trees with needles, pine cones, maple trees, saplings, and trees bigger around than their arms. There were five discovery lessons in which groups of 8 or 9 students rotated for 30 minute sessions.  These were Needs of a Tree, Butterfly Life Cycle, Freddy the Fish and Pollution, The Seed Song (with actions!), and Stages of a Tree. Lessons were interactive and time was spent both inside and outside. A big group game of Predators Verses Prey was enjoyed by all after lunch. At the end of the day, all students sang the Seed Song, acting out the life stages of a tree.  Staff from Covenant Point for the day were Abby Austin, Anders Ahlberg, Kim Steiner, Verl Hudson, Jane Frasier and Dustin Johnson. The WIC teaching staff of Courtney Busakowski, Lynn Fish, Maggie Scheffer, and Terri O’Donnell shared how much the students benefitted from their day at Covenant Point and how pleased they all were with this experience.  See all the fun in these pictures!

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7th Grade Forest Park

Though we were greeted in the morning with another snowfall, we had a great time with the 7th grade students from Forest Park on Monday.  Throughout the day, the students moved between three stations of fun team building exercises and games led by Dustin.  Anders led The Meuse in which the students needed to get between two points using different materials  without touching the floor.  Kim and Kevin had the climbing wall open and got to witness a number of first time climbers make it up the wall.  They also led a low element using our new trolleys!  Abby introduced the students to a silent maze that they had to maneuver through trial and error.  It was a great day and we can’t wait to welcome more students!

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Rockin Robins Week 1

Spring has finally seemed to arrive at camp, and with that comes our Agents of the Earth Rockin’ Robins program!  We had 14 kindergarten and first grade students join us on Friday after school for a time of nature crafts, games, a story and a lesson on different birds.  We had a great time and the weather even allowed us to go on a hunt for signs of spring.  Thanks to the “Big Buddies” from town who were paired with the kids to help them with their projects!  We’re looking forward to two more weeks of Rockin Robins!

Take a look at these pictures to see all of the nature fun!

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CPBC Men’s Winter Expedition 2014


January 10-12, 2014, eight men ventured to the Porcupine Mountains, backpacking with cross country skis to a small rustic cabin in the woods. In the two days at the cabin, they enjoyed skiing and snowshoeing, playing card games,  having good conversations, sharing meals cooked over the woodstove, and devotional times with the theme of “Discovering True North: Self-awareness, discovery, and creating the new normal” led by Kevin Johnson. The exceptional snow and good group of men made for a great trip.

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NPU Students and Faculty Retreat to the North Woods

Thanks to former summer staffer, Keir Quackenbush, for the great article.

“CHICAGO (November 21, 2013) — On Friday, October 25, a group of 14 North Park students and four professors interested in nature, philosophy, and creative writing allowed themselves to retreat. No, not from an argument, the prose of Heidegger, or writer’s block, but from the realm of exhaust, excitement, and excess: they retreated from the city.”

“Clark and others hope that the retreat can become an annual event. He emphasizes that there is a ‘mutual desire to strengthen the connections between North Park and Covenant Point,” adding, “[Covenant Point offers] us a setting where we can reflect on the ways [that] our city lives affect and are affected by the human and non-human lives in rural areas.'”

Read full the article here.


CPBC Staff & Alumni Winter Expedition Snowshoe Trip

Monday, January 6 (9:00 am) – Wednesday, January 8 (4:00 pm), 2014


Experience fellowship and God’s creation with the Covenant Point staff & alumni snowshoe backpacking trip in the Porcupine Mountains.  Meals, transportation, and a rustic cabin will be provided. Snowshoe and backpack rental are included. After being outfitted with necessary gear, we will travel by van to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The remote cabin is a somewhat rigorous four mile ski/snowshoe from the trail head. The first morning we wake in the wilderness will be spent exploring, enjoying God’s creation, having quiet time, fun, and fellowship over meals and conversation in the great outdoors or a rustic cabin setting. The next day the group will snowshoe/ski back to the van, and travel back to Covenant Point by 4:00 PM.

Download Registration Form

Photos from last year’s trip:

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Forest Park 3rd Graders Visit for Outdoor Education

Third Grade Forest Park students, teachers, and adult volunteers came for a day of active learning and outdoor activity related to the Earth Science curriculum. The four groups rotated to the following lessons: renewable and non-renewable resources, rock formation, characteristics of earth materials and the effects of erosion, and human impact on the environment. The four R’s were also highlighted through activities, big group games, and song. These are recycle, reduce, renew, and reuse. A special thank you to Point staff, parents, and teachers, Lisa Santi and Kim Payne, for helping make this experience a full day of learning and fun for the students.

Northland Pines 5th Grade May 25

The 5th graders from Northland Pines School in Eagle River, WI, came for a day of outdoor education. Sixty-seven students, along with three teachers and staff, rotated through five discovery sessions, several big groups games, and performed the Tree Dance song. (thanks for Julia Moon who passed it onto Johanna Sparrman)  The lessons were on aquatic life, needs of animals with a bear simulation activity, GPS, tree identification, and compass.  Lori Weber, a teacher who has been setting up this field trip for many years now, sums up the experience for her students, “Thank you so much for a great day.  Our kids had a wonderful time and all of the adults who accompanied  were very impressed.  Kudos to you and your staff for putting on a first class field trip.”

North Central 6th Grade May 24

Another great day sums up the time with North Central 6th graders from Powers, MI. Along with teacher, Jon Lorenzoni and adult volunteers, these 32 students spent the day doing GPS , big group initiatives, low elements, and high ropes course challenge.

An email after the event conveys how special the time was for them.   “Just wanted to say thank you again for the nice experience.  Please pass it along to all of your young workers, also.  Everyone was so positive and helpful. The activities were well planned and very beneficial to these 6th graders. My kids had a blast.  They talked about it the whole bus ride home. It was a memorable day for them.”

Woodland Elementary 5th Grade May 22

The second day of Woodland Elementary 5th grade visit on May 22nd went very well for one and all. The students were busy and having great fun, the staff enjoyed the time with them, and the weather was great to be outside. Activities on the mainland were archery, canoeing, zip line, and candle/print making. The island experience was the Tarzan swing and climbing the wall. Big group games were also a highlight of the time.

Thanks Woodland 5th graders for a great two days with us. We enjoyed you a lot. Special thanks to our volunteers, Shawn Dotson, Nick Ralston, Tony Menucci, and Anders Ahlberg as well as Point staff.

Woodland Elementary 5th Grade May 21

An active, fun filled time was enjoyed by two classes of 5th graders on May 21st. Along with their teachers and principal, 57 students celebrated the end of the school year by spending time at Point. Students selected from the following mainland activities:  archery, candle making and print making, canoeing, and zip line. On the island they could either do the Tarzan swing or climb the wall.  Other events of the day were eating in the camp dining hall, playing small and big group games, and riding on the pontoon boat. There was no complaining during this day, just lots of smiles and happy chatter. Thanks to the many staff who came to assist.

Iron Mountain 2nd Graders 2012

Never a dull moment made up this day for 45 second grade students from North Elementary. Besides a big game of predator and prey, each group of 9 students went to five different discovery groups. These were: owl pellets, tree needs, furs and pelts, camouflage, and producers, consumers, and decomposers.  It was a great day for students, parent volunteers, teachers, and staff. Special thanks to Scott Pearson from the U. S. Forest Service shared his expertise with us.

Forest Park 1st Grade 2012

Forest Park First graders were part of an active day of learning on May 11th. The young explorers were divided into four groups and rotated through active, hands-on lessons.  The children learned about the life cycle of a tree and then investigated a log ecosystem. They talked about the life cycle of a butterfly and demonstrated actual motions representing each phase to reinforce learning.  They watched as Freddy the Fish lost his clean water to various pollutants. After observing real-life salamanders in different stages and learning about toad/frog life cycle, they found places to put toad houses in the forest. The children also played a big group game of tree tag, wolf find, and learned a song about trees. It was quite a different day than being in the classroom but the tired, but happy faces of students showed how grand a day it truly was for each one.

Forest Park 7th Grade 2012


Forty-one 7th graders took to the woods and the high ropes for a day of challenge and learning outside the classroom. The students rotated through three sessions: GPS, Compass, and print art. After lunch, big group initiatives and low rope elements were completed by half the group while the other half experienced the high ropes and zip line. They then switched so that everyone could enjoy the fun.