Club Getaway 2018
by Richard Brownstone, Director of Middle School
The beginning of each school year is full of adjustments, especially for our 11 and 12 year-olds moving into Middle School. To help with this transition, our 6th Graders begin the year with a 3-day bonding trip out of town.
This year, PE Department Head Xavier Huc led 31 6th Graders and four other chaperones (Director of Middle School Richard Brownstone and teachers Sara Fernandez Valladares, Meena Negandhi, and Patricia McDougall) to Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut, for three days and two nights of activities, games, team-building, and fun. Trips like these are especially important because 6th Grade is a major entry point for new ISB students. While many of our students have been here since Preschool or Lower School, some have just joined us in Middle School. By taking the entire grade out of town—and removing all academic pressure and outside commitments—ISB gives the new and returning students some time to acclimate to one another, build new friendships, and come back to Brooklyn as a new ensemble.
On such trips, we hope for perfect conditions, such as fast bus rides and great weather. Unfortunately, the group got neither this year. The outbound trip was delayed by a late-arriving bus; the ride was slow; and the skies poured rain on the 36 travelers. But spirits were not diminished. In fact, after a first day of climbing, swinging, and hiking, the adults tried desperately to get some rest… but many of the kids were determined to talk and laugh well into the night. They even rose two hours before the designated wake-up time and raced out into the rainy morning for more frolicking!
In spite of increasing rain and gray skies, students found many ways to have fun. They rode the zip lines; executed back flips on the bungee trampoline; scaled the climbing walls; trekked blindfolded through the forest; built forts; and more. And when the rain was too intense, the camp staff led the students in dance parties, quiz games, and karaoke. Perhaps the biggest surprise for the chaperones was that the group’s favorite karaoke songs seemed to be ABBA tunes!
Alas, the ride home was another challenge. On the hottest fall day yet, the air conditioning on the bus failed, and the traffic was horrendous, impounding the group on a sweltering three-hour (plus) odyssey. The adults worried that the rough ride home might be all that the students remembered, but at school the next day, the kids seemed to find only humor in the sticky bus trip. In fact, they seemed to celebrate their survival. And the journey somehow birthed an urban legend that Mr. Brownstone had taken all the air conditioning for himself!
All in all, the trip accomplished its mission: the 6th Grade returned to school united, adjusted, and ready for the school year. (And the adult chaperones returned ready for vacation!)