Members of the freshman class and 54 seniors, who are members of the Freshman Transition Leaders program, climbed over walls together, built race vehicles out of pipes and wheels and collaborated on a variety of outdoor teambuilding activities during their trip to the Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill on Oct. 1.
The students bonded over the activities, which were designed to promote a sense of community, encourage mutual respect, trust and collaboration, and improve their problem-solving and communication skills.
“We watched the students listen to each other, contribute to find the solution and then support each other in accomplishing the task,” said Counseling Department Director Anne Abbatecola, who organized the event along with Ellen Cohen, Barbara Dhyne and Aaron Kind.
Dhyne added that, from the moment everyone arrived at the camp, the senior leaders took charge and, without prompting, gathered the ninth-graders and remained with them throughout the day.
“It was so impressive to see the interactions between the leaders and freshmen, and to hear comments from both ninth- and 12th-graders as we boarded the bus: ‘We had a fun day.’” she said.
As part of the activities, the students were challenged to climb over a wall, as well as climb over a plank that was held by other members of the group. During another activity, one student stood on a large triangular-shaped wood structure as members of the team pulled on the ropes that were attached to the structure to move it in a circular pattern.
For the Road Rally, each group was tasked with building a vehicle out of different lengths of pipes and wheels before racing against the rest of the students. The task required thought, collaboration and organization. Four school counselors, a nurse and several ninth-grade teachers accompanied the group of students and enjoyed a barbecue lunch between the sessions.
“I feel that we accomplished our goals for the day and look forward to the coming months and the growing relationship between the leaders and their freshman groups,” Abbatecola said. “Throughout the fall, the students will hold regular meetings between small groups of freshmen and senior leaders to continue to build a sense of community.”
The Sharpe Reservation trip was originally funded by a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation in 2014 as a pilot program for two seasons before it was included in the school district’s budget.