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Building connections at Colonial Middle School

Building connections at Colonial Middle School

Seventh graders from Colonial Middle School recently visited Camp America to create bonds and make memories with their classmates through team building.

“My favorite thing about team building was that we learned how to work together and we used other people’s strategies and ideas to make things work,” said seventh grader Jah-Kierra Emel Nelson. “Also, we helped each other out by giving people confidence and cheering them on.”

The teams were grouped by homeroom. The challenges included keeping a large wooden ship balanced, using boards to make a path across a “lava river”, and tackling a rock wall, ropes bridge, and zipline across a lake.

Students building a path with boards to cross a section of mulch.

“I was surprised to actually see people, who you wouldn't normally catch talking to each other, talking to each other in their nervousness about the zipline,” said seventh grader Parivash Haroon. “I thought it was pretty neat how it made them sort of have something in common outside of the schooling factor.”

The tasks focused on using good communication skills and making sure everybody was included in brainstorming and decision making. As a result, students who normally might not speak up in class could have the best idea and take charge. 

“Students were able to make memories with classmates they may not have otherwise connected with prior to this trip,” said science teacher Adrienne Ames who organized the outing. “Students from all backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic status, you name it—none of that mattered today. The kids were just being kids, working through a challenge, and having fun.”

The middle school piloted the program last May and determined that it might serve a better purpose earlier in the year.

“Words cannot describe how rewarding the day was; students and teachers both got a lot out of this experience,” said Mrs. Ames. “Although the start of school is hectic as everyone adjusts to new routines, having an experience like this feels like it starts the year off on the right foot.”

student ziplining across a lake