At the end of February (I know, I’m so behind!) we took our entire 7th grade class – 95 students – on a three day “camping” field trip. The camp site was in Suka Bumi, situated in the mountains about five hours away, and we caravanned it in three large buses.
I’m going to warn you before we get too far into this: the next few posts will center upon how absolutely incredible my students are. And the fact that they’re better at life than I am.
I think I had approximately two students that had been camping before. That’s not an exaggeration.
I will now return to the idea of “camping”. We did stay in tents. BUT. They were raised off the ground, had padded floors and multiple rooms, had functioning electricity and lights. They were accompanied by bathrooms with beautiful showers with hot water and flushable toilets.
Regardless, it was “camping”.
The whole trip was one enormous leap out of the students’ comfort zone. They left their parents, nannies, and maids. They left their video games, computers, and iPhones. Throughout the time there, we hung out in nature, rappelled down waterfalls, did a high ropes course, visited a traditional village.
They did all kinds of things that they had never done before…and they did them well. Without complaining or trying to get out of it.
It was awesome.
The kids were split into four groups of 24 each, and I personally am pretty convinced that I had the best group 🙂
The kids all know each other, but not very well. During the normal school day, they travel between classes but always stay with the same group of classmates. For this trip, we mixed up their normal homerooms and gave them the chance to interact more with other students.
I was a bit worried about a few of the social aspects before we started the trip.
Apparently, I needn’t have worried.
The kids bonded within the first few hours of working together. Our first activity was rappelling, and they were so encouraging of one another! Even on the hike up, I was so impressed by the ways in which they were thinking of each other. Many of them were scared of the hike up, but several of my boys, on their own prerogative, stopped to give a hand to the others during the rough spots.
When we arrived at the waterfall, some of the students balked at the idea of hanging 15 meters (50 feet) in the air. They encouraged each other to do it, though, and those who had already made it to the bottom stayed to cheer on the others.
Lots of confessions of a fear of heights were mades, but every one of the kids completed the activity!
It is incredible how bonding it can be to face new, scary, or hard things together! Yet another reason to venture out of my own comfort zone once in a while 🙂
As my wise little sister once said, “Sometimes you’re just so much more comfortable outside of your comfort zone!”
More on the retreat to come, but look at how awesome my kids are! Not a rough classroom to teach in.