The GWU Summit Challenge Course was a hit! The day began with a chill in the air, but the sky was blue and sunny and the temperature warmed up with every passing hour. It was a perfect October day. Students and mentors and volunteers hugged hello upon arrival and the trail course began with fun activities that helped us find common interests among us.
We also engaged in a fun activity using non-verbal communication that had us all laughing at how quickly we can miscommunicate despite our best efforts. The group was split into two cohorts and off we went to the challenge elements. The students were totally helpful and respectful to each other, and the groups worked diligently to problem-solve and accomplish the various tasks.
Everyone was relaxed and happy. We reunited for one big final jump rope game that had us all yelling and cheering and holding hands as we ran under the rope. I got to show off my ballet move of falling on my tailbone but the kids ran over and lifted me up in a split second! We are so grateful to our facilitators, Abby Baker and Justina DeMott, and we thank Dr. Colette Coleman for offering the Mount Vernon campus resources available to us! We met our objectives of increasing trust in ourselves and others, creative problem-solving, teamwork, effective communication and cooperation, and strategic thinking!
We enjoyed the great West Hall dining room all-you-care-to-eat Sunday Brunch, then proceeded to the classroom for our academics. After celebrating several student birthdays with a vibrant song and cupcakes, Nyrisha conducted a unit on study skill tips. We shared how important it was to improve our grades this year and we discussed how the mentors were going to be more available between the monthly events. Everyone was confirmed for our protected Facebook page. The students had a chance to discuss their school progress with their table peers and mentors. We moved into our SAT/ACT vocabulary activity and all the student chose to go beyond the first worksheet of 20 words and took me up on the challenge to learn 100 new words per month. Not only do they have to learn the definition, they have to correctly use each word in a sentence. Each month, we will have a vocabulary quiz game using “coopetition strategies” and incentives to see how well they are able to remember the words.
Departure went without a hitch. We all went home with smiles on our faces and great memories! We look forward to November!