The Angevine Middle School CAP class has always worked together fairly well. When these eighth graders arrived at Cal-Wood Education Center last weekend, most of them had been in classes together for years and in CAP class they had worked through a lot of grroup teambuilding and games. Like most middle school students, though, they tended to stick with those they knew best and this limited their potential. As Caedmon put it in his reflection essay, “At the beginning I felt the group wasn’t good together and we all had separate groups and we didn’t really work with the other people. I especially had trouble because I already had a group of people I was comfortable with and it’s risky to leave it. Over the course of the trip, however, I felt we really grew in community.”
Because this group had worked together for a while, and had learned about Expedition Behavior, instructors knew they were capable of great things and over the weekend we gave them more and more responsibility. This starts with carrying their own packs and preparing their first group meal. Bonding experiences like a difficult hike and campfire games broke down barriers and knit them together. By the second day, they were able to pack out the van on their own and turn a hard manual labor job into a highlight of their eighth grade experience. The life lessons learned over the weekend were countless and as an instructor I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
They actually named each log as it was passed hand to hand up the hill. This back breaking, sweat inducing job that would have left most adult groups feeling low, was more than fun, it was hilarious! As “Steve” and “Two Handed Pete” were relayed up the steep hillside and stacked at the top, the kids built memories and cemented bonds, working harder than most of them had ever worked in their lives. As the stacks grew higher, they morphed it into a storytelling game where each log was a line of the story passed and the main character destroyed all the consonants in the world and thereby had to live his life known as “E.” Only big personalities tinged with exhaustion could produce such side splitting creativity.
In Jackson’s words, “ The story was way too funny. The whole trip was way too fun.”
See more photos from our trip here!
Written by CAP class instructor Erin Angel.
The Community Adventure Program at Angevine Middle School is made possible through the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturalez program. Click here to learn more!