From the Blog

What is BSDAT?

BSDAT is not just some random scrambled letter combination, but rather one of the most well liked and highly rated classes offered at the YMCA Camp Bernie Outdoor Center.


Phone: (908) 832-5315
Fax: (908) 832-9078
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BSDAT is an acronym that stands for “Bernie Sensory Development and Awareness Trail” and the purpose of the class is to encourage students to explore their five senses and experience sensory awareness in our forested setting.
There are three primary objectives in this class: firstly, to better understand the importance of vision in their everyday lives, secondly to build a trusting relationship with their peers and finally, to communicate with their peers based upon the information provided by their experiences and senses.
Our instructors will often lead this class through a variety of experiential means and will often relate our human senses to animal senses. For instance, one fact we might share with the kids is that flies and butterflies have taste organs on their feet, allowing them to taste anything they land on! We also might ask students to answer some fun and puzzling questions, such as: “true or false? Girls typically have more taste buds than boys” (it’s true!).
The central activity in the BSDAT class is a blindfolded trail walk using a guide rope. Each participant leads themselves, with close adult supervision, through the BSDAT Trail. One of the more noteworthy aspects to this experience is that the BSDAT trail begins in a deciduous forest but ends in a coniferous forest. The entire atmosphere feels different for the kids and naturally adds to the sensory awareness this course promotes.
In the fall of 2011, a parent chaperone shared that, “the kids had fun and learned how to use their other senses. The children were engaged the entire time”.
The children enjoy BSDAT as well. “It was fun and challenging that we have to use our senses to complete it”, said one 5th grade participant.
Students will also be given the opportunity to test their sense of smell at the end of the class. Individual containers with fragrant items inside will be passed around. Each child will guess the smell of the item, and don’t worry, these are pleasant smells such as peppermint or soap!
Next time you plan a trip to Camp Bernie, consider giving BSDAT a try. This is a fun, engaging and memorable addition to any excursion here at camp.


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