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Catalina Foothills School District students learn to hike and hydrate on Mt. Lemmon

Posted at 9:13 AM, Jul 10, 2024

CATALINA FOOTHILLS, Ariz. (KGUN) — As they hiked through the Box Camp Trail on Mount Lemmon, the fourth through eighth grade students that are a part of the Catalina Foothills School District’s Mount Lemmon Backpacking Camp didn’t have a single electronic in hand.

Felix LeBlanc, who is going to be a junior at Catalina Foothills High School, experienced the camp in the fifth and sixth grades and is now a volunteer at the camp.

“Being on a trail and actually hiking is a huge part of learning,” LeBlanc said.

He and the rest of the students hiked a total of four miles on Tuesday. Students are also learning how to make first aid kits and how to set up a tent. They also learn how to stay hydrated and purify water.

“Always packing enough water like about 2 liters is always really good but more is always better,” LeBlanc advised.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said every year there are almost 300 heat related visits to the emergency room in Pima County.

It was seventh grader Olivia Krinitsky’s first time at the camp and she was learning how to pace herself in the heat.

“I kind of go slower in the shade so then I can savor the shade….I push myself but not too much to where I’m going to pass out,” she said.

She was also learning about the greenery around her, learning about the different types of plants and flowers and about their names and backgrounds.

Kids also learned about how to tie knots and about campfire safety. On Thursday they are going to be camping overnight in tents.

This camp is seven weeks in total with different campers every week. The district said students outside of the district can also join.

However, the kids at the camp shared that one of their favorite parts is making connections with cool new friends.

“I like hanging out with the people, talking on the trail and then noticing cool little things,” LeBlanc said.

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.