Since 8th grade I’ve been involved in the Habitat for Humanity Prep Club. Prep Club is a club for middle and high school students to help explore options after high school. In May, 2012, we took a trip to Kissimmee, Florida for a Leadership Retreat. I had no idea what to expect. I was a bit nervous about spending the weekend with other students I barely even knew. We all attend different schools and share different interests, so we decided to play ice breaker games to familiarize ourselves with one another.
Once we arrived to the vacation home, we had a great dinner and played group oriented games. We asked each other questions, and I learned that one girl was interested in meeting the Dalai Lama and that one of our group leaders would like to travel back to the 1920’s to become a Flapper. Around 9:00pm, one of our leaders set up a one-hour leadership session. We spoke about the importance of college, scholarships, and life itself. The team leader had us split up and illustrate, very briefly, our future lives and 10 years after college. I shared that I could see myself working for a popular television channel, such as MTV, hosting shows, or broadcasting news. The rest of the night was spent laughing and talking amongst each other.
The next morning, we woke up early to head to Orlando to do a Ropes course called Common Ground Adventures. We spent 6 hours doing team building activities and challenges. One of the courses was to get all 6 of our group members from “land” through the “chocolate lava river” onto “Marshmallow Island” using only five 8 inch boards. Of course it wasn’t easy, nor did we get it right on the first try, but it was fun. The next focus was balance.The object was to get from one end of the wire rope, around two poles, and to the end, using nothing but focus and your partner’s shoulder. The lesson of the moment was teamwork. Some things are better accomplished as a team, and sometimes you can’t succeed without a little help.
The final course of the day was to climb to the top of a 35 foot telephone pole while connected to nothing but a harness. Once I got to the top, the goal was to jump off and grab the trapeze hanging in the air. I thought my life flashed before my eyes until I felt my harness tug. I then realized it took a lot out of me to trust a couple teenagers with my life. At the end of the day, I had learned a lot about myself and to trust my team.
Once we got back to the house, we ate another delicious dinner. After socializing about the wonderful day we’d just had, a different group leader set up a second leadership session. We were taught about interviews, appearance, and applications. We topped off the night with a Blue Man Group concert. All the different sounds, colors, and visuals put me in another zone. That was my favorite night of the entire trip.
I felt as if I learned a lot about myself and my peers that weekend. We were all intelligent teens seeking to be successful. I’d suggest any teen to find a group of friends and try something they’ve never done before. I guarantee that there will be an unexpected, valuable life lesson in the end. For example, try a ropes course or a concert. Here are a couple of links: Commonground Adventures and Blue Man Group.
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