Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Year #3 Fieldwork Wrap Up

The overall structure of FLOW changed in some important ways this year. The trip itself was run from Tuesday to Friday as opposed to Monday to Friday, and Chewonki offered us the chance to return to their campus two weeks after the trip for a day of team building activities and initiatives. This was a targeted effort to give groups the chance for closure and final debriefing about FLOW. Ideally, our hope was that students would be able to identify learnings from FLOW that they could draw on as resources and apply to their lives.  It was a GREAT idea!

Kids were excited to get back out to Chewonki Neck. This time -- without sleeping bags or a week's worth of clothing --it felt like a homecoming or reunion of sorts. It was great to see the smiles as groups were reunited with their Chewonki instructors and hustled out to the field for a brief round of big-group games.  After this we broke up into our FLOW groups and headed into the woods.

One of the most striking things I noticed was the level of focus our group displayed right from the start -- it was far beyond what I saw on day #1 of FLOW. Each of the FLOW groups had two or three kids join their group for this day who had not been able to go on the trip. The FLOW veterans made quick work of setting a positive tone of productive collaboration for the newcomers. This was a small snapshot of the amazing potential that exists in harnessing key experiences to promote transformational growth in kids.

The level of challenge in each of the activities ramped up as the day progressed. It was important to remind the group about the importance of quality when collaborating to complete a task. It took many tries to get everyone across the "islands" pictured here.

The value of any experience is affected by the ways we reflect on it. After each activity we talked as a group to identify successes and areas for growth. Lessons like these, mixing physical, emotional and intellectual challenge, are more likely to be cemented in our memories. As these kids continue their journey through middle school and beyond, they will have the memory of these experiences to use as tools to help them succeed.

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