Middle School Team Building Trip
By Miriam Butterman
On Thursday, September 27, ISB cut the ribbon on another first when we took our class outdoors to the Berkshire Mountains in Kent, CT for a Middle School overnight field trip. Club Getaway has been in existence as an outsourced retreat and nature’s classroom facility since 1976. It was started by the Fink family in the 1940′s as Camp Leonard and Leonore. Upon arriving one can see how this site continues to inspire great wonder and enjoyment for city dwellers such as ourselves!
We knew it would be a no frills, rugged outdoor experience, sleeping in simple cabins and breathing in the fresh country air, but we didn’t know the extent of our fun to be had.
As we scuttled off the bus, you should have seen our mouths gape at the sight of the fall colors glaring at us across the placid lake. Even though we were late arriving, we hit the ground running with Nwambi, our amazing host from Capetown, South Africa. She brought us into a small indoor cabin facility, and although we thought we knew each other pretty well she was able to draw out our team building skills and test our comfort zones, while reminding us of the respect we all deserve. For instance, in the “chair game,” we became the chair for one another; seat, back support, arms and legs,. If we didn’t know each other well by then, we had just gotten that much closer.
We ate lunch and while letting our stomachs settle for coming “x-sports” we started our afternoon with relay field games along the lake. Verbally directing one another through blindfolded objectives, our multi-language skills served us well. Minus a few reverse walkers (do you know right from left when you are blindfolded?), we managed to keep the races competitive and challenging, but most of all fun!
This of course was all just minor prep for the bungee-trampoline and the zip line course. Eloise at first was worried she would not know how to do forward flips on the bungee but became a flipping machine!! She wasn’t the only sixth grader to demonstrate her determination and success. We had lots of first timers up there who came down with exhilarating expressions, even our tallest sixth grader, Macarena!
And for those who may not have loved the bungee as much — there was the zip line. We sang songs and took fun photos while we waited our turn to sail across the tree line.
Forget exhaustion, there was simply no time. After dinner, we visited with Wildman Jack and his exotic animals; the Tortoise, the Beaded Lizard, and the Nile Crocodile, “with retractable eyes,” as Sam likes to explain it. Max Johnson winced not at the call of duty to help handle a 15ft Asian Python in front of the crowd. Little man, big spirit!! Finally ending the night with a dance party and some S’mores by the campfire, lights were out by 10:30, a well-deserved night’s sleep coming our way.
We woke up to less than perfect weather conditions but that didn’t stop us from breathing in a beautiful morning fog lifting off the surrounding mountains or our mixer of indoor games with South Bronx Prep students, a really cool group of kids! We finished with some sing-offs of Karaoke, spotlighting our totally engaged musical MS crew — and hit the lunch room one more time before leaving.
No doubt the great outdoors made us feel strong, and inspired and totally free by the end of our stay. Teachers expected the bus ride back to Brooklyn to be a reflective, restful trip home, with students quite relieved to pass out from all the (exhausting) fun, but wouldn’t you know? It was quite the feat to quiet down our newly bonded group of fantastic adolescents! Sorry teachers, your shut eye will have to wait till the evening. We have new friendships and old bonds to carry out!