Netflix. iPhones. Alexa. In 2018, we are all used to using the latest technology every day of our lives. However, Milken’s ninth graders stepped out of their comfort zones this spring by going to Santa Cruz Island together as a class to experience the wilderness. Many incoming Milken students have little or no experience in terms of camping and sleeping in nature, so it was a bit nerve-racking to think about spending three nights and four days sleeping in tents and using outhouses as their bathrooms.
Students woke up early in the morning to meet at Milken so they could head to Ventura Harbor. From there, it was about a 22-mile boat ride to Santa Cruz Island. Once off the boat, students met up with their advisories and a group leader who worked at the Island. They then went to their designated camping location and learned how to set up a tent, which would hold up to four people from an advisory. An anonymous ninth grade student explained, “One of my favorite parts of the entire trip was sleeping in a tent for the first time. I was really scared about sleeping somewhere other than my own bed. After, I realized I really enjoyed being able to listen to nature and the birds chirping in the morning.”
Another great thing about the ninth grade tiyul was that students learned how to be resourceful. Students cooked their own dinners, and brought their own utensils to eat with. After, they had to wash their dishes in order to use them for the next meal. Jake Thomas ‘21, said, “The food was much better than we all thought it was going to be.” Another way that students learned to be resourceful was through the saying “leave no trace.” Since there were very few trash cans, students had to keep their trash with them, making sure to leave the campsite the way they found it.
Students took part in an abundance of engaging activities, such as a seven-mile hike, a kayaking trek through caves, playing sports, looking at bioluminescent creatures in the water, and stargazing. Kaitlyn Nickfardjam ’21 recounted a memory from the trip, saying “I fell in the water while kayaking and my friends had to help me out of the water. It was a really funny moment that, when I look back on the trip, I will always remember.” While the 9th grade tiyul was a success, the trip was cut short due to high winds on Thursday. This meant that it wasn’t safe for the ferries to run to the Ventura Harbor.
Overall, this year’s Santa Cruz Island camping tiyul was memorable for many of Milken’s freshmen, and while the students of the class of 2021 were undoubtedly excited to get their iPhones back, they were also excited to form even more great memories during their tiyulim in tenth grade.