Pirates Teem at Steppingstone School Summer Camp
"Aaarghgh,” growled “Captain Gutterman” of PIRATES, a Steppingstone School Summer Camp, as she greeted student “shipmates.” In a week of fantasy role-playing, students from Western Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties also learned some history, real and fantastical. To play their parts, “pirates” designed their own costumes and built their own ship as well.
With “First Mate Tobin,” students learned to use a padded cutlass, practicing techniques of martial arts as well as dueling on ground and on the plank (laid on the floor). Other physical-sensory activities included walking the (floor) plank blindfolded to develop balance.
Making sure that wits and intellect were also exercised, students deciphered treasure maps, studied clues and did some logical problem-solving in their hunts. They also learned traditional pirate “lingo,” the symbolism behind pirate flags, and how to navigate by the stars.
“Learning the difference between romanticism and reality” lay behind many of the activities and discussions during this summer camp led by Heather Gutterman, founder and head of Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study. Polaris uses the North Star to represent guidance in finding one’s way through conflicts. This is a major premise for the western
martial arts studies offered by Polaris, an adjunct program of Steppingstone School. In addition to the summer camp
sessions, After School and Saturday programs are also offered during the school year.