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. Public Schools of North Carolina . . State Board of Education . . Department Of Public Instruction .

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STUDENTS DITCH ELECTRONICS FOR THE GREAT OUTDOORS

"People come from all over the world to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, but lots of Henderson County school kids have never even been on the Blue Ridge Parkway," John "Dock" Dockendorf, director of Camp Pinnacle in Flat Rock, said on a sunny Thursday morning. Behind him, about two dozen sixth-graders from Hendersonville's only charter school, Mountain Community School, laughed and cheered on each other at the camp's climbing wall. In addition to being an overnight camp, Camp Pinnacle has a special three-day program for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders operated through its sister organization, Adventure Treks. The program serves 13 private schools from Florida to Ohio, as well as Mountain Community. Dockendorf is on a mission to give school children a solid outdoor education while instilling self-reliance, resilience and "a sense of their place in our nature world," he said. "If kids aren't outside, how to they know how our planet works? How do they know about the natural resources in our county? How do they know where their water comes from? Lots of kids know about the rainforest, but they don't know about the forest out their back door."