Middle School Students Go on an Outdoor Adventure

Ms. Hughes recently took a group of middle school students on a weeklong adventure with Outward Bound, a program that provides individuals with outdoor challenges and leadership development experiences. The students were given new challenges on a daily basis that tested their outdoor skills and stretched them in ways they never thought possible! They hiked to a different spot every day and were responsible for their own navigation. Students also learned to purify water from a creek to make it drinkable, cook meals, make a fire by finding enough wood to sustain it for at least an hour.  Some of the foods that the students prepared included jambalaya, stew, hummus, and a Thanksgiving meal consisting of mashed potatoes and stuffing. They also enjoyed lemonade and hot chocolate, which they appreciated on the cold nights. On one of the nights, they even got to roast marshmallows!

The students were responsible for setting up and taking down their own tents every day. Throughout the week, they slept in different locations, including the top of a mountain and by a beautiful lake. The hike to the mountain top proved particularly challenging; they laughed and cried, they fell in holes, but they showed resilience by getting right back up every time. Some parts of the experience were more challenging than others. For example, the students had to get used to going to the bathroom in the woods and using a shovel to bury waste. One night, they had to endure the fearful sound of coyotes howling in the distance! Of course, they didn’t overcome all of these obstacles alone. Three Outward Bound instructors, Emily, Shannon, and Coya, provided them with pro-tips, which they increasingly relied on as the week progressed and the challenges got harder.

Overall, the experience taught the students a lot about themselves and served to strengthen their character. Whenever arguments or disagreements emerged, the facilitators encouraged the students to work through them on their own in order to improve their problem-solving skills. In the end, the students learned a lot. For Aniya Robinson, the experience was challenging but also rewarding. “I made sure I pushed myself and prepped myself for the next morning,” she says. “I’m not as open to people but I learned that I can open up to people that I don’t know.” Tanasia Tucker says that she would do it again. “It’s a good place to get away from your phone and get your mind off of the little things. You learn how to communicate and do things with each other instead of picking up a phone every five seconds.”

For Naya White, the experience was eye-opening in other ways. “I realized how much I actually missed my mother, even though I complain way too much about being in the house with her.” Dayanna Brown agreed. “It was a fun experience, but I missed my mom.” Khayla Thomas learned that she could overcome obstacles if she pushed herself. “Keep going, never give up. Push yourself and you can do it!”