The ninth grade class recently embarked on an overnight trip focused on bonding, cooperation, and team building.
Last week, freshmen traveled to Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, New York, where they participated in various group activities, designed to ease the transition from eighth to ninth grade in an enjoyable way.
Highlights of the trip included a high ropes course and a low ropes course. On the high ropes course, students had the opportunity to walk across tightropes and planks, and jump onto a trapeze bar after climbing up a telephone pole. Students were encouraged to try at least one of the courses and to support their classmates as they took risks.
The low ropes course provided a chance for classmates to work together and learn about each other in small groups. For example, students had to figure out how to get everyone through a raised tire and onto the other side. This required the use of teamwork, strategic planning, and problem solving.
JB Barr, a new freshman, commented that this was a great opportunity for him to meet unfamiliar faces due to the random group assignment. This, he said, allowed him to see people he wouldn’t otherwise see in class.
While students appreciated having time to socialize with each other, many agreed with Barr’s comment that, “The trip…would probably be better if it was just a day trip. The second morning we just played for a while. Although it was fun, we could’ve probably had just as much fun if we left the night before.”
The night hike, which consisted of about an hour of walking in the dark, was not so popular among freshmen. The objective of the hike was for students to use their senses to navigate their surroundings, while allowing their eyes to adjust to the dark. Students also tested their newfound “night vision” by doing activities such as guessing the color of a crayon – most people got it wrong.
While students enjoyed this challenge, the hike also posed some risks. Since flashlights were not allowed, students found themselves tripping over rocks, logs, and even each other. As a result, some freshmen returned from the night hike with various bruises and scrapes.
While this experience received mixed reviews from students, the freshman class undoubtedly valued the time that they got to spend with each other – especially peers who they don’t regularly see at school.