Last week's power outages kept the final group of New Albany seventh-graders from attending Camp NuHop, but it drummed up a few more participants for the three-day trip rescheduled for late October.

Last week's power outages kept the final group of New Albany seventh-graders from attending Camp NuHop, but it drummed up a few more participants for the three-day trip rescheduled for late October.

Seventh-graders from New Albany Middle School have been visiting Camp NuHop for about 10 years for a three-day, two-night dose of life outside school walls.

Camp NuHop, near Mohican State Park, caters to special needs children during the summer, but takes three groups of New Albany students in the off season.

"It's three days and two nights, three teams go for three different mini-trips," seventh-grade science teacher Kirsten Jaster said. "The teachers go and stay overnight, we're all in cabinsÉ"

The teachers take a back seat when it comes to teaching at Camp NuHop, though. The camp offers team-building experiences such as high-ropes and obstacle courses, canoeing, spelunking and visiting Malabar Farm. The classroom education - also held outdoors - involves poetry, science lessons such as stream quality testing and math classes that incorporate measuring.

"We're there as aides rather than teachers," said seventh-grade language arts teacher and camp organizer Shannon May.

While the educational lessons at the camp are important, the physical courses normally turn out to be the experience that helps the students grow.

"There are three high-ropes courses, a giant swing, that's 45-feet up in the air. (The students) are pulled up by their peers," May said. "The element of the high-ropes course is teamwork."

Jaster said students bond through the physical challenges.

"When kids get off the ropes course, they cry," she said. "They get to see the football player is a real person. Even the teachers, they see us with no makeup, they see us canoeing."

Social barriers are also broken down at the camp.

"For three days and two nights they don't get to be with their cliques. They're broken into tribes," Jaster said. "For a few days the social pressures of school are a little less. A football player could be freaking out on the high ropes course and a kid he would never talk to could be cheering him on from the ground."

Students are given a little independence from their parents and creature comforts, too. Cell phones and iPods are prohibited, but students can bring cameras.

"It gives kids a chance to get away for a couple of days to get that independence they want," Jaster said.

The camp isn't only a learning experience for middle schoolers, though. High School students act as counselors at Camp NuHop and Jaster said it's a great lesson in leadership.

"It's kind of like a leadership camp," she said. "They learn what an impact they can make, that they're not just high schoolers."

"For high school kids, they have to do things they haven't done before," May agreed. "They find things in themselves they haven't known before."

New Albany high school student Becca Marks has been a counselor at Camp NuHop for three years and said it was great to go back and complete courses she was afraid of as a seventh-grader.

"I was terrified of the ropes course as a seventh-grader, but I went back and did it in the 10th grade," she said.

Marks said her experience as a counselor taught her about leadership and relating to others.

"It makes me relate better to kids and deal with different kinds of people," she said. "It teaches leadership skills because even if you're not doing it, you still have to get kids up on the ropes course."

In previous years, students visited Camp NuHop in the spring, but testing moved it to the fall this year. Teachers said it was a good introduction to the school year.

"It was a good way to start the school year," Jaster said. "We get to see what we're made of and what the kids are made of."

Camp NuHop is not required for seventh-graders. Each student chooses whether to go, with the exception of students with discipline problems. Financial aid for the program is available.

Two groups of about 100 students each have already gone and the final group of students will head to Camp NuHop in late October.