Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Day in the Woods

I woke up today feeling a bit more excited than usual. The reason for that is that today was the day of our challenge course. We were supposed to meet in front of the ratty and exactly 8 a.m., and so I woke up at  6:30 to get ready for the day. I packed sunscreen, bug spray, TICK SOCKS, an umbrella, as well as plastic bags. I guess you could say I was prepared.

I arrived at the ratty at exactly 7:30, right when it opened. I ate breakfast as quick as I could, and made my way outside. 2 of the 6 Leadership classes went on the challenge course yesterday, and the other 4 went today. The ride there was full of laughter, I typically always have a ton of energy in the morning, and Kelsey downed two cups of coffee, so things were a bit more ecstatic than usual. We arrived at our destination about 30 minutes later. The air was so fresh and clean and the area was absolutely gorgeous. It was nice to be out in nature after spending so much time in the city the past week.

After exiting the bus, we all gathered around in a circle and were given a general explanation of today's activities, as well as information on safety. We then broke off into groups. My group consisted of Esmeralda and Kelsey, while Bianche was placed into another. Prior to the actual challenge course, the facilitators had organized many team building activities. We started by playing a game of elbow tag in which the players teamed up, and the runner and chaser were constantly attaching and detaching from a pair. We also played a game involving 4 colored bandannas, with a specific human code (order or team members), with 20 tries to get it right. We managed to complete the code by our 10th try; my favorite activity however was where we were placed into teams of four, and one person acted as body, which could move, but not speak or see. Then there was the mouth, which could not see or move, and then there were the eyes, which could see, but not speak or move. The objective of the game was to direct the body towards a cone, and pick up an object on the opposite side of it. It was incredibly difficult, but definitely enjoyable to watch.

Color coding
We then took a lunch break, where the food finally tasted real for once. I missed the taste of real rice. We played a game that took us the entire lunch break to figure out--the triangle game. You would choose three people or three objects to create a triangle, and  you had to guess what was in the triangle. We all answered the questions logically, but we kept getting them wrong. We kept guessing and guessing, alas, we were wrong Finally, our TA Ashley gave us the answer: the first person who spoke after the statement was in the triangle.

After waiting all  morning, it was finally time for the challenge course!!! We walked a bit more into the woods, where all the obstacles were located. We started off with a balancing challenge, which turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected. Our team had a difficult time with communication, as well as stepping down when necessary. Our next activity was called "Islands". There were three wooden boxes, equal distance apart, and two wooden planks to help us cross. The objective was to get all of our 11 team members across within 30 minutes. Now mind you, this sounds easy, but when actually executing the plan, you realize how many challenges you actually face. There were multiple different leadership styles attempting to work together to perform a certain task, and those multiple leadership styles tended to clash. It was much more emotional than physical, but nonethelesss I learned a lot.

Reflecting on today was a mixture of emotions. In retrospect, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I care more about the overall process than the end result. Today, I was focused on having fun, but there were others who wanted to focus on the getting the challenge done and over with. If there's one thing I can take from today, it is the importance of communication. 

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