Remember that childhood song, “Make new friends, but keep the old…”? That could be the theme song of our Outdoor Classroom. While OC loves hosting and forming educational partnerships with new schools, the schools with which we’ve had a long relationship hold a particular place in our hearts. For example, last week we hosted a great group of students from The Rivers School in Weston, Mass. This is the 44th year that Rivers students have come to the Outdoor Classroom—appropriate, since Chewonki founder Clarence Allen was a Rivers teacher and headmaster. (And like Chewonki, Rivers is celebrating its centennial this year.) Outdoor Classroom Director Lisa Packard says that students and staff from longstanding comers tend to arrive very well prepared and have usually “bought in” to the experience before they get here. In the schools that have come to Chewonki for decades, “the Outdoor Classroom is a rite of passage,” says Lisa, and students tell younger students about it year after year. “As the head of one school that’s been coming here for a long time put it, ‘Chewonki has become an important part of our vocabulary.’” Here’s a list of the schools with the longest relationships with the Outdoor Classroom and the year they first came to Chewonki: The Rivers School, Weston, Mass. (1970) Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, Mass. (1975) Applewild School, Fitchburg, Mass. (1979) Shore Country Day, Beverly, Mass. (1984) Wiscasset Middle School, Wiscasset, Maine (1985) Cape Elizabeth Middle School, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (1986) Providence Country Day, East Providence, R.I. (1987) Cape Cod Academy, Osterville, Mass. (1980s) Edgecomb Eddy School, Edgecomb, Maine (1980s) Hall-Dale Middle School, Farmingdale, Maine (1980s) Don’t forget, however, we love to make new friends. We are planning to work more closely with schools near us in the year to come. Learn more about the Outdoor Classroom.