Cold weather? Snow worries. The warmth and camaraderie the sixth-grade class cultivated during their field trip to the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC) in Woodstock, Illinois were felt by students and teachers alike. Arriving Tuesday morning, students were given the option to participate in a variety of outdoor activities led by the Loyola staff, ranging from archery to geocaching. During dinner on Tuesday, students learned about ort (food waste), and played a riveting game of stump the staff. The evening was topped off by a wild and wacky advisory challenge, including two-minute interpretations of the Torah, handless Oreo eating relays and other minute-to-win-it team-building challenges.
Light morning snow couldn't stop the fun on Wednesday! The day began with a nature-oriented Tefilah, and after breakfast, students split up to either play an ecology-themed game of tag called "Predator vs. Prey" or go onto the high ropes course, rotating in the afternoon after lunch. Wednesday night brought an awe-inspiring talent show, emceed by three students, followed by a movie and board games.
Thursday morning was focused on team-building and communication skills as the Loyola staff presented the students with multiple challenges that pushed them to work together to accomplish a specific goal. Though hot chocolate certainly helped the sixth graders, the cold didn't bother them, anyway.
There were so many moments of growth and care that were observed by both teachers and students, such as when a student comforted another student who was feeling homesick by sharing their own experiences with homesickness. Students encouraged each other to participate in community activities and empowered each other to lead. One student remarked upon arriving back at school Thursday afternoon that they felt that "the grade now sees each other in a different, deeper way" than before. Though the October snow will melt away, the memories of this overnight trip will stay for a lifetime!