Thirty-four Frink-Chambers eighth grade GEAR UP students recently participated in the People Inc. Youth and Family Services Ropes Course in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
The ropes course is a component of the People Inc. Youth and Family Services, which provides youth participants the opportunity to complete a variety of activities that contain mental, physical, and emotional challenges in a safe setting. The ropes course helps participants discover their personal courage and strengths, enhance self- confidence and esteem, build trust, and learn decision-making and problem-solving skills while experiencing a new and fun adventure with their peers.
Students began the day by breaking into three small groups and completing trust falls. Each group then participated in the low ropes course, which included three challenges: the spider web, mountain tops, and traverse. After each course was complete, the instructors encouraged students to discuss the challenges they faced individually and as a group. Instructors also encouraged students to share what they learned, as each challenge held a different learning objective.
“My favorite part of my job as a ropes course instructor is seeing the kids push themselves to do things they didn’t know they could do,” said Youth and Family Services Counselor, Micki Kimble. “At People Inc., we offer a variety of individual and family counseling services, and the ropes course is a part of that.”
After the low ropes course challenges, students ate lunch provided by People Inc. During lunch, students continued to work on team building through positively sharing with each other their least and most favorite challenges of the morning.
In the afternoon, students prepared for the high ropes course. Students had the opportunity to participate in one of two challenges: the zip line or power pole. The group divided almost equally and began the challenges.
“My favorite part of the day was the power pole,” said Rhylan Riddel, Frink-Chambers eighth grade GEAR UP student. “It seemed like a huge challenge in the beginning, and it was, but I accomplished it. Today, I learned it’s important to plan before you begin something because it can help you achieve your goals.”
At the end of the day, students gathered with Mrs. Donna Curry and Mr. Lloyd Belt, Frink-Chambers teachers, and Brianna Brassfield, GEAR UP Education Coordinator, to discuss the overall experience. Curry told students to never sell themselves short because the day spent at the ropes course was a great example that they could achieve more than they could imagine.
“I learned more about my students in one day at the ropes course than I have all semester,” Curry said. “I can better serve my students now.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.