June 12, 2010 01:25 by Caleb
CALO students recently returned from a very exciting rock climbing trip. For almost three months our students spent a great deal of energy learning how to tie knots and anchors and utilize rock climbing safety gear so they could qualify to participate in an exciting team work rock climbing trip. Although it was warm and muggy, and the bugs were thick, we had an absolutely wonderful experience learning the basic concepts of teamwork while overcoming different challenges together.
So many times during our recreational therapy sequences the most therapeutic moments are not planned; they just happen. This trip was no exception. While camping with our boys we thought it would be a fun adventure to sleep on top of Sam’s Throne in northern Arkansas. The only difficulty would be transporting enough water from the vehicles to the campsite nearly two miles away. Students were broken into teams and assisted one another carrying the heavy seven pound water containers to the campsite. Creative thinking skills were utilized as teams used ropes and sticks and teamwork to haul the heavy water containers along the narrow trail. In one of the most spontaneous recreational therapy moments on our trip our boys show true empathy and consideration for one another as they struggled along side their staff to carry the jugs full of the life sustaining water.
While working with our girls even our staff were squeezed as they helped girls overcome their fears on an 80 foot repel. Although it took significantly longer to help everyone complete this courageous task, it was a truly amazing process to watch girls who had steadfastly made up their mind to refuse the activity, slowly and willingly change their minds and attitudes as their peers sat and talked with them and used their excellent teamwork and empathetic communication skills to convince their friends and peers to take that scary leap of faith and repel down a mountain. With nothing more than a few miner scrapes and bruises our girls were able to celebrate together at the bottom of the mountain after repelling (some of them upside-down) down the cliff.
Already our students are gearing up for summer, and that means fun in the water. We are currently passing off our swim tests so we can enjoy activities and adventures in the ski boat and the canoes. Students will have opportunities to improve and learn about their own communication styles and will be coached how they can more effectively connect with those they care about.