While dangling 10 feet in the air, a student in the Marion Kane Leadership program, worked with her friends on the ground to figure out how to climb up the next obstacle. Looking down at them for support and guidance, they helped and encouraged her as she pulled herself up and threw her leg over the next platform.
Communication was just one of the skills students in 7th grade from eight Washington County schools practiced during the Marion Kane Leadership program at the Mission’s Cherryfield campus. This two-day retreat, in the fall, brings students to a neutral place and gives them opportunities to practice leadership skills in a fun, low-pressure setting. The first day focuses on working on effective communication and the second day focuses on trust building exercises.
“Staff always look forward to having students on campus and being able to challenge them through a variety of activities and on the ropes course,” says Isaac Marnik, EdGE Program Director. “Being able to make connections with the students over the two days and then throughout the year is a valuable part of the program.
Students first hit the ropes course and did a spotting and balancing game which got them comfortable on the ropes course and helped them work on communicating. Later in the day, the group played a series of games that focused on different types of communication including one that has everyone work together to create the right combination to open a lock.
For the second day, students focused on building trust amongst each other. On the ropes course, they learn how to belay, or to counterbalance a climber, which requires teamwork and trust between the climber and the belayer. After, they played teambuilding games which built on the communication skills they worked on the day before. One of the games included the task of getting across a river using limited resources. To succeed, everyone must work together as a team to get everyone safely across the river without falling in.
After each day, the groups came together to debrief and talk about what they learned focusing on how they can use these skills going forward. Throughout the year, Mission staff will follow up on these programs with in-school activities at each participating school that will build on what the students learned over these two days. Overall, the Marion Kane Leadership helps students think critically about topics like bullying, peer pressure, and decision-making, and how to address these subjects in their schools and lives. During the previous school year more than 140 students went through the Marion Kane Leadership Program.
Learn more about EdGE and the Marion Kane Leadership Program here.