Written by CAP Instructor Carly Winner (Escrito en español más abajo)
William Smith High School has a unique offering: the school is grouped into Crews, which meet weekly for homeroom and provide an opportunity for students to get to know each other outside their typical classes. This fall, Cottonwood Institute and William Smith are teaming up to host two full-school Crew Days, where students develop a deeper sense of identity and connection within and among their Crew teams.
Last Friday was the first Crew Day of the year, and we used the time to compete in challenges and to explore each Crew’s unique identity. The event began in the classroom, where Crews played Minefield and Raging River. Here, students began to notice that working collaboratively may take some extra effort! The challenges required students to use different types of communication and start to trust each other, both in small groups and as a full class. Crews also competed against each other in big games of Capture the Flag and Alaskan Baseball, which featured side quests for students who wanted to solve logic puzzles or create art instead of doing a physical activity.
To finish the day, each Crew took their creativity to the next level to dive into their group identity. Students considered some of their values and interests at William Smith, like sports, art, likes/dislikes, race, ethnicity, and characteristics of their families. They used these traits to find their commonalities and their individual uniquenesses. As they explored their group identity, each Crew dedicated headbands with unique designs; created a chant to use throughout the year; and made a video to show off their homeroom and team personality.
The shared energy across students created a day filled with problem-solving, leadership, community involvement, and FUN! Cottonwood is looking forward to working with William Smith in the coming weeks to support Crew Olympics, where Crews will be able to use their chant, video, and headband to show their spirit. We hope the Crews are able to look back on when they had to navigate the Minefield and the Raging River together and remember that they are powerful as a team!