Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fun in The Rain

Today we went to the Haffenreffer Estate in Bristol, Rhode Island. The site reminded me of the endless stories I read about in my history book. We were surrounded by vegetation and I could see a large body of water not too far away. Coincidentally we were standing on a historic site. Apparently King Phillip died while in battle, on the very terrain we stood on, which people refer to as the First Indian War.

We began the day by splitting up into our specific groups based on our course.  We played games that prepared us for the activities in the actual low rope course. The tasks primarily focused on our leadership styles and how we interacted with one another. One of the activities that I enjoyed was the group trust fall. We first practiced with partner trust falls, and then we gathered into a circle.  I volunteered to go into the circle first. I wrapped my arms near my chest and I trusted my fellow group members to protect me from falling. I looked like a stick being leaned from side to side. I was supported on a physical and mental level. I knew none of them would want me to get hurt, so I knew they would use their physical abilities to keep me from falling. I eventually realized that a majority of the activities in the rope course were similar to the ones that we began with.
The Summer@Brown staff warned us about the ticks we might attract. It was quite funny to see people spray loads of bug spray on their clothes. The extra precaution paid off because no one reported any signs of ticks on their body.

All of the activities involved physical and emotional energy. Our first activity was to walk on a tight rope. I was apprehensive because I was afraid of falling. Although there were people who stood around me as I walked on the tight rope, I still felt insecure because I felt they couldn’t adequately help me if I did fall. I was surprised by how far my partner and I made it. At times my rope would violently shake but my partner encouraged me to lean into her to maintain my balance. All the pairs relied on one another to get as far as they did. It was relieving to feel supported by my entire group.

 Our next activity was to swing on a rope and then to pile the entire group onto a platform. I was
Sonya helping a classmate at the low rope course
astounded that eleven girls were able to fit onto one small platform. It would have been hilarious to be a bystander and watch us. Each student had to do the Tarzan swing and then the other members would catch the student. I accidentally kneed one of the girls from swinging with my leg in the hole of the rope. Luckily I gently bumped into her. If we were to touch the ground, we would have to begin again. At the end of each activity, we summarized and described our experience. I said that it was hard to fail because everyone was so supportive. We supported one another and we wanted to succeed as a team. I was so fortunate to be with this group because everyone was compassionate and reassuring.

Our final activity was to use two planks to get from one platform to another.  Jess, a Summer@Brown staff member, decided to add a challenge to the activity. She told us that only the South leaders would be able to speak. I am a South leader and, including me, there were only three of us. I was apprehensive to lead initially because I have relied on the other students who had originally taken charge. The other members of the group continued to help us, but we were only allowed to read their lips. I could tell it was difficult for the other students to refrain from speaking, but they said it has helped them learn more about allowing others to contribute. Initially we were not successful and the plank touched the ground. When the plank touched the ground, we had to start over and sing popular songs. We sang “Call Me Maybe” and “Stop in The Name of Love”. Despite my lack of singing abilities, I sang my heart out. If things became frustrating, the songs eased the tension. I am glad that I had the opportunity to lead because I tend to only step in if needed. From this experience I realized that I should try to lead when it is appropriate. There is nothing wrong with putting in your two cents.

I was so thankful that I was able to be a part of the group that I was in. Everyone was caring and extremely supportive. It was obvious that we wanted everyone to succeed. All the different types of leaders in the group were able to take the lead at least once. We were all able to acknowledge our tendencies that we need to improve on. After every class, I am fortunate for something I have learned or the interactions that I experienced. At the end of our low rope course, it started to rain. The rain signified the conclusion of our day.

I ended my day by going to the Tealuxe with Nina and Shraddha. Being here, in Rhode Island, is still surreal to me. I am so fortunate that I am able to experience this opportunity. Not only am I having a blast, but I am also learning vital information about my life and what I can do to improve it. This has been an incredible experience! I can already picture myself going to college and managing my time. At times I had to reject an invitation so that I could get extra sleep, but I still allow myself to have lots of fun. My college experience has been amazing!
At the Tealuxe

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