We recently returned from what we have been referring to as our 100 mile bike ride. Our goal on this trip was to push students outside their comfort zones and squeeze them to find out what was inside. We were incredibly impressed with the positive attitudes and good team work demonstrated by our students. While only a handful of students were actually able to complete the full 100 miles, every single student gave this challenge all that they had and they worked hard. During this trip we introduced a concept of Work Hard, Play Hard. I have seldom seen a group of students grasp a concept so quickly and naturally. While riding bikes our students worked and pushed themselves beyond their limits. Once we arrived at camp the majority of the students were helpful and happy and played like little kids at a playground. It helped that we actually were camping in play grounds along the way. Multiple staff talked about how they were impressed with so many of the interactions and ability our students have to form sincere and enduring relationships. The following is a quote from one of the coaches who lead a group of boys who named their team Humble Gumble.
Humble Gumble as a group made sure that this experience was about the process and not the task. The group each took their turn as the slowest member of the team at different times, including staff. At each one of these instances, the teammates came along side of the one struggling, showing empathy and humility. Teammates traded bikes, took multiple breaks, and even carried others packs so that they could continue on. The team enjoyed taking multiple pictures, stopping to read each one of the trail head signs, and just hanging out together. The first day they picked up a mascot which was a wooly worm, and the next one that was a stray dog along the trail. This was the most fun that this staff has ever had at Calo, and it is the first time that I can truly say that I saw all of the relationship tools used by these students.
This trip was not easy. There were times throughout this ride that every rider was tempted to quit, staff included. As we rode past one mile marker after another it seemed as though we might never reach the end. Despite the surge of pain in their thighs from heavy pedaling and the ache in their backs from leaning over handle bars hour after hour, the students pressed on supporting each other and working out their differences along the way. It was a pleasure to participate in this worthwhile activity with such wonderful staff and wonderful students.