The eighth-grade trip to Aberdovey, Wales was both a tremendous challenge and a successful bonding opportunity.
They stayed at the Outward Bound Trust Center from Monday until Friday
. The purpose of this trip was to push students out of their comfort zones and to help their advisories bond. Throughout the week they spent countless hours with their advisory and their instructors from the Outward Bound Trust. They developed many new relationships, made new realizations, and discovered parts of themselves and each other that they had not seen before.
Eighth grade student Rachel Furst said, “Outward Bound helped our advisory bond quite a lot. You do team building activities which make you communicate and build trust with other people in your advisory.”
Many other students agreed with Furst’s statement and they found the support of their advisories helpful.
Ms Solange Kidd, a French teacher and eighth grade advisor, was not new to the experience, as this was her thirteenth year attending Outward Bound. She explained how the trip bonded her advisory, and she noticed the connections and friendships made throughout it. “I could see from the outside that (the students) were, whether they knew it or not, a unified group. They were intermingling and really connecting.”
The eighth grade had the opportunity to push themselves beyond their comfort zones with a jog and dip on the evening they arrived, an overnight hiking excursion, sailing, gorge walking, abseiling, rock climbing, and more.
Many students entered this trip feeling doubtful and nervous because of the opinions they heard from previous eighth-graders that caused their own suspicions. Because of this, many students didn’t want to participate in certain activities that might be too challenging. When students push themselves beyond their comfort zone, it can be scary and nerve-racking but many of this year’s eighth-grade students tried their hardest to stay positive and not let their previous judgments affect their perspective.
Claire Kettler, an eighth-grader from the Tollefson advisory understood that the purpose was to push herself, and in the end, she felt more confident and proud. “I think that an emotional challenge for me was accepting that I had to do all of the activities. I had in my head that I could get out of it, but that wasn’t the point of the trip,” said Kettler. “I was glad that I was able to overcome this obstacle because it made me feel a lot better than I had before.”
The trip, however, was not all positivity and fun. The students really had to push themselves, and at times the activities seemed almost impossible. Mrs Cindy Tollefson, an eighth-grade science teacher, was attending the Outward Bound Trip for the first time. She explained, “There were definitely times when we had fun… but most of the time I think (the students) thought it was work. But I think they thought it was worthwhile. They enjoyed each other’s company, but having fun was not one of the biggest takeaways.”
However, Outward Bound was similar to the trip the class of 2024 went on as seventh graders. Ms Kidd pointed out that this is the reason they were not looking forward to it as much. They had already done a lot of the same activities such as abseiling, hiking, and gorge walking. While it was still beneficial to the group bonding, she thinks this is an area for improvement for us. We (the school) need to work on providing different opportunities that will allow for new learning benefits, relationships, and growth for each individual.
The Outward Bound trip was a memorable experience for both teachers and students alike. The friendships and attitudes developed along the trip will continue for the rest of their eighth-grade year.