By Peter O’Grady
This past Tuesday, both Grade 12 Outdoor Education classes participated in, and experienced "Blind Courage and Faith in Others.”
The activity is an essential part of the school's fall programming and brings together the ideals of trust, understanding personal comfort zones and working towards a common goal that is greater than any one individual. It also highlights the value of debriefing after an activity to enrich learning and explore what just happened, how students worked together and felt, and most important, how they will transfer this new knowledge and experience to future situations.
Held in the evening to ensure complete darkness, participating students were provided only enough information to be dressed appropriately for the outdoors and for light to moderate activity.
One-by-one, students were brought outside of the Guild Hut, blindfolded and positioned along a line that they were asked to hold on to. Once all students were in position and organized in groups of eight, they were led (by senior students) on a 25-minute walk into the forest, eventually arriving at their final destination, complete with burning campfire. Seated comfortably around the campfire, and still blindfolded, students listened to meaningful stories on leadership. Once finished, and to their surprise, students were asked to remove their blindfolds and find their own way back to the school. With candles in hand, and no longer blindfolded, a beatiful candle lit path back to the school could be seen by all, and participants relaxed as they realized that they were still being looked after.
Twelve Grade 12 students facilitated the experience with a goal of nourishing feelings of trust in others, even those that you may not be aware are present. Expectations were shared beforehand, emphasizing safety as a top priority, but with the understanding that participants would have to place their trust in the the leaders. Students were challenged to be silent for almost 90 minutes while they were blindfolded, placed along a lead line, lead through the woods, seated by a campfire and walked back to the main campus following a candle lit path. Above all else, the students were asked to respect each other's right to experience the activity individually in it's true spirit and intent. The Grade 12 OE students were truly amazing during the experience.
We are so grateful for the Grade 12 students who helped make the event possible: Sophie Milburn, Ben Dunk, LJ Simmons, Kyle Lee, Jack Zhang, Jordan Tucker, Joe Genaro, Robin Hotte, Jennifer Cardona, Maggie-Lu Maclean, Reyna Krocker and Alek Boisjoly.
We look forward to our next activity, our annual "Crisis Management Simulation" with both Grade 12 OE classes in November.