Smiles abound at the Wausau School Forest in Marathon County. But for as much fun as the students at the camp are having, they're learning as well.
"It's really fun" camper Lindsey Smith told Newsline 9.
Smith is at camp along with dozens of other students ready to start middle school at either John Muir or Horace Mann middle schools this fall. They're attending the camp opened in 1942 for a six-week long day camp summer school experience.
The camp intertwines outdoor learning experiences like fishing with applied mathematics and science classes. Included in the curriculum includes constructing tree forts, building model parachutes and constructing solar-powered marshmallow cookers.
Camp leaders say the activities find a good balance between structured education, having fun, and developing teamwork and leadership abilities.
"We're just looking for the kids to have a fun time and transition them into middle school," camp counselor Michael Murzinski said.
Murzinski teaches the students outdoor lawn games including Bocce Ball and horseshoes. He says learning new games is a good way to develop friendships among future classmates.
"Once they get with their friends and they kind of know the rules and how the game works, and once they get involved they really have a fun time and work with it," Murzinski said.
Exactly the kind of experience camp leaders say they will experience when they begin middle school in the fall.