Loon Lake reflection

Welcome back to yet another learning portfolio post. The topic? Loon Lake. What is Loon Lake? It’s a lake.1 That isn’t very specific, so for the purposes of this post, it’s where we, the PLP grade 9’s, spent 5 days on a learning “advance”. This post is a reflection on that experience.2

Even though we were only at Loon Lake for five days, they were busy ones. Our days started with breakfast at 8, followed by 2-3 activities between then and lunch, and more between lunch and dinner, as well as one or two at night. The activities ranged from outdoor pursuits such as archery, climbing, low and high ropes, and an orienteering challenge, to workshops with Jono, one of the leaders from Pinnacle Pursuits.

Like with PLP project, even though calling this a project is a bit of a stretch, this post aims to answer a Driving Question: How do the choices we make set our future path?

I’ll let that sit in your head while you read the rest of this post, which is separated into sections like:

The Workshops

In the first few workshops, we took a leadership quiz to help us identify our leadership styles. I ended up with Challenger and Modeler/Encourager as my top two results. Some of the results were traits I already knew I possessed, but others were new revelations about myself.

Over the next few days in the workshops, we continued to learn about ourselves – our likes, skills, strengths, needs, and values. We also participated in activities, especially in smaller groups, to better understand ourselves, learn about others, and build trust.

One of the recurring activities was trust-falls. It began as an activity where a small group of around 8 people would stand around one person in the group, who would then fall into the people, who would redirect them somewhere else. This would continue for a minute or so for each person. For the first workshop, this is all we did, and it was also how we started the second workshop for trust falls. After that, we moved on to the more traditional trust falls with one person falling backward into a partner, then increasing the fall angle with two people to catch you. Finally, we moved to the largest trust fall, where you stand on a chair on a table 3 and fall all the way down to 7 catchers. It was an incredible experience that, in my opinion, actually did help me to trust the people in my group more. The scariest part of the whole thing was catching, as I was terrified I would mess up and drop someone or hurt myself. In the end, everyone in the group ended up doing something that they may not have initially thought they would, be that the fall, catching, or something else.

All of the workshops were interspersed with the previously mentioned outdoor activities, along with a few

PLP specific activities. One of these was a combination of bracelet making and making a representation of ourselves with circularly arranged hexagons (our name being central, things that we like to do, or that otherwise represent us on the 8 outside hexagons). Another activity was making posters that represent us, but I’ll get back to that.

In the workshops, we discussed Emotional Intelligence and related skills and traits a fair bit. We learnt about how these can help (or hinder us) in different scenarios, as well as thinking about what skills and traits we wanted to develop further.
For me, I’d say this trip was really about how we wanted to grow and what skills we wanted to develop, both as learners and people. What we choose to do now, and the skills we learn can affect our future, both near and far in many ways. Right now, our world is at a turning point with technology and AI, and it is very hard to predict how things will be in even 5 years. 4In one workshop, we talked about what skills are ‘necessary’, with effective communication being one of them. I do think that we should still learn specialized skills, even if only for something to do, and because learning those skills usually helps develop core skills.

So far, I’ve made this trip sound a bit dull, talking about all these workshops. Luckily for you and me, it wasn’t all workshops. As I mentioned before, the workshops were interspersed with some outdoor activities, so this seems like

A perfectly good spot to talk about those

Even though we did lots of activities in the workshops to build trust, get to know each other, and learn to work together as a team, the activities we did outside of the workshops also worked to achieve that goal, especially the team-building side of it. Many of the activities were group activities, an example being the Low ropes course, which was a set of challenges that a group of around 12 of us had to get through. There was a timed course where everyone had to make it through as quickly as we could. The first time around we were all disorganized so the second time around we came up with a plan where the fastest people would go last, and then the rest would go from fastest to slowest, with everyone encouraging and helping each other. Our coordination led to us shaving almost a minute and a half off our original time. Another activity, this time more of a “solo” one was archery. Again, everyone was encouraging each other and the people who actually knew what they were doing helped the less experienced people just like on the low ropes.

Another activity that we did was a sort of team race/competition, where we were split into 4 teams. I ended up on the pink team, where we got off to a wonderful start by infringing on the Intellectual property of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, naming ourselves the Pink Panthers.5 which I think is one of the reasons we won, sarcasm(definitely not teamwork or anything)] We then had to divide into 4 subgroups, which were the teams we would be competing in. The subgroup I was in started off strong, coming in first for the first activity. We continued doing well, with a bit of a hiccup on the second challenge, placing second, first, and first on the remaining three challenges. While we were doing the challenges we tried to check in on the other members of the Pink Panthers, and at the end, we all compared how we did, and we were all fairly confident that we had won. Either way, almost everyone agreed that it was very fun and that our team worked really well together.6

Now, I could go on for another thousand words about all the other fun stuff we did, and all the things we learned, but this post is getting long. So, for the final thing, I’ll talk about the end of our trip.

Earlier I mentioned the hexes and the posters, and, for the last few days, we worked on putting them all together. We connected all the hexes based on the things people put around as the things that represented them.7,Throughout the week we had been going and writing things we appreciated about people on their posters. To showcase this all, we had a mini exhibition where we broke into groups with each group showcasing one of the things we learned over the week8 to our parents.

Finally, in our groups, along with the parents, we shared a goal based on what we had learned over the week. Mine was to try and identify when to step back and give people space to help and to share their ideas when working in groups, as I sometimes tend towards trying to take control of the project and not leaving room for others to help.

That’s all for now. Until the next post,


  1. named after a loon, crazy right?
  2. The title does not lie
  3. don’t worry, there were people holding the chair and table still
  4. for context, chatGPT has been only been around since november 2022, and Stable diffusion was initially released in august 2022, both relatively short periods of time, and they have absolutely changed how many people do things
  6. heartwarming story of teamwork and all that aside, we did win, and by a fair margin, which we found out at dinner that night
  7. for example, hockey and hockey would connect, or reading and reading, there were also some double combos, like coding and coding, and nature and nature, stuff like that
  8. my group got self awareness

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