Friday, July 7, 2017

Backflips 25 Feet In The Air!

Getting ready to soar.
Today might have been one of the most interesting days of the entire course. Today was the day that we were in the great outdoors also known as the Hoffman Challenge Course. We met up with Josh at 8:45 AM, I saw him even earlier than that because I did not know where the bus was going to pick us up outside of RPCC. It turns out he did not either so while we waited for the rest of the class to trickle in he called Mark asking about the bus. When the bus finally did arrive we were done cracking jokes about random vans passing by being our bus. We climbed on and began our journey to the challenge course.

The staff was very enthusiastic and open to us asking questions when we arrived, space we all gathered in one big circle to discuss what we have learned so far in our course about being leaders, they were very curious about what we had to say and our approach to how this course would help us become better leaders. We went over what we would be doing in the course which consisted of lows as well as highs, space then we sprayed some bug spray and filled up our water bottles and split up into small groups. In my group my staff member was named Nick, space at first we played a name game to help learn other's names for himself and us as well. We passed a ball around and said each other's names for a few rounds before he had us write down our seven values as a team that we would use throughout the day. We then explained why we chose each word that we did, space some of our words consisted of optimism, courage, teamwork, etc. All qualities that would come in handy when working in a team.
Climbing up the twenty-five foot beam!

Me, a flying squirrel. 
After making sure everyone was geared up and ready to go we began our trek through the woods to our first challenge which was balancing all seven students which made up my small team on a raft like structure made of wood, Nick set the scene for us by stating how we were making a journey through the arctic and this would be our mission to get to safety with all our team members. This challenge was not so hard but Nick amped it up by having us do the same thing accept this time three people would level it and the rest of us would climb and still keep it level throughout.

We wanted a level ten challenge when he asked us about it, we all have different ideas about the order to step on and where to step, as well as whether to stand or sit; we were able to complete the challenge with time to spare! We then did more challenges on the ground which consisted of using boards to make it across 'icebergs' which were cylinder blocks in the ground as well as walk as one unit, in both I was blind because Nick said to make it more of a challenge I needed to have a blindfold on, it made me step back because I was talking less since I could not see what was going on, but it was really great being able to hear others step up to put forth their ideas on how to approach the situation, as well as hear how they problem solve and worked with the rest of the team.

The daredevils of the group, Soheila and I!
The challenge where we were walking as one unit would have to be the most difficult of the lows because I was not only blindfolded, but I was in the front being the commander of when to move, I kept on falling off which we were just laughing about but I kept on getting back up which I was proud of myself for. Then we had a lunch break where we also sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jenna, one of our peers who was still with us for this course on her birthday. We then went back into the woods for the second part of the challenge course, the highs, and my favorite part of the whole day.

We first were instructed on how to properly strap ourselves in a harness which was very important and something I never thought I would do, we also put on some colorful helmets before splitting in half and walking to a large vertical log probably well over twenty-five feet tall. We were given instruction on what a belay is, which is when your harness is attached to a rope, which can hold about 5,000 pounds, and you are secured in it. As well as how to ask if it is safe to climb, and the response, which is “Climb away.” I was the fastest one to climb up to the top of the team and together stood four students on a platform the size of a medium pizza. We blossomed by grabbing each other's shoulders, the elbows, then hands, before letting go and falling backwards. The rush was crazy, but since we were in the harness we were gracefully lowered.

We then went to another activity where we had a chest harness which was optional, and a team called the ‘dog team’ which was students strapped to a rope would run a few feet, pulling the student strapped in the harness up into the air. I was the first one to go, and it was felt amazing to be a ‘flying squirrel’ as the staff member called it. I was nervous at first but I just put my arms out and had fun because it went by so fast.

We then had the option of doing any of the other activities we wanted. Some were with partners, and I went with one of my peers to climb up a balance beam, my partner did not want to even get on so I had the whole balance beam to myself. The staff member named Hannah was so sweet, she was putting up with me while I kept on asking her to pull my rope tighter since it helped me feel more secure. She said I was the first one who ever said that since people usually like it with more slack, that way you wouldn’t notice the harness. I had no idea I would feel so comfortable and my friends were snapping pictures of me while I was doing backflips on the balance beam! It was so much fun and I tried all the different activities, all I had to do was trust the harness!

Having the time of my life!
To conclude our eventful day, we came together as a class to figure out how to get over a fourteen-foot high wall, we all had different ideas and narrowed it down to creating a human pyramid with two people lifting someone up. Alexander, a student who was very athletic went first and pulled himself up, then he stayed at the top to pull others up. Which is basically how we all got over, being lifted up and then pulled over the wall. It was so cool how they were able to so effortlessly lift me over the wall by working as a team! The instructions for spotting one another were hilarious, which were that if someone were to fall, rather than catching them we should mash them against the wall which gave us even more motivation to not have anyone fall and get them over the wall on the first try which we were able to successfully do!

We all had a great day and ended just laughing and being goofy with each other. Jenna had also brought some birthday cake, so we sang to her and she got to blow out the candles, before we got back to campus around half past five. All I wanted to do was sleep because I didn’t realize how tired I was until I got back to my room. Not before doing my reading for our new book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

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