Reported by: Adam Ashley, Falls Church High School and Grant Wernick, Trinity School at Meadow View
To kick off our first full day at UVA, we had our first breakfast in the O-Hill dining hall before heading to the Poplar Ridge Challenge Course. For the first part of the day, the class was split into three groups for team building activities with volunteers Johnathan, Jon, and Mark (If at first you didn’t hear the name of your group leader, but said “John,” you had a two-thirds chance of getting it right). The groups did a variety of team-building exercises that required communication and cooperation. One exercise tasked the groups with evacuating from a “volcanic island” (a small raised platform) to safety, which involved arranging and balancing wooden planks between three more islands and crossing everyone to safety. Another challenge involved crossing all group members over a creek using a suspended rope swing. The technique was to get ahold of the swing, which hovered some distance away, using only materials we had at hand, providing for necessary group collaboration and critical thinking. One group made a lasso from tying their shoes together; another threw a water bottle at the rope, causing it to lurch and swing back into the group’s reach.
The activities were also designed to help the groups cooperate efficiently with people they had just met. These themes carried on into the second part of the day, where the three groups merged into two after lunch. Each group had the opportunity to participate in both the rope course and “Brian’s Ladder.” Both were paired activities that not only required intense teamwork but also some stylish harnesses. We, both literally and figuratively, went to great heights today.
Wrapping up our eight-hour day in the woods, we headed back to O-Hill for dinner, and then to Gooch-Dillard for evening activities. These included working on Senator background essays, drafting proposed bills and watching The Office.