The PLP 9 learning team went to Loon Lake!

The trip was centered around leadership and enhancing our collaboration as a team and was run by the company Pinnacle Pursuits.

Going into this trip I felt uncertain about what to expect. I knew this trip would look different from our past field studies, as all 50 of us were together. Knowing the experience was being run by an external company, Pinnacle Pursuits, added a layer of uncertainty as well. Thankfully, my mind was quickly eased after getting there and the experience ended up being a positive one.

The week focused on team building, emotional intelligence and collaboration. The curricular competencies worked on in team building included processing (thinking critically), analyzing (evaluating relevance, authenticity and bias) and decision-making (making complex judgements while identifying and respecting diverse communities).

There are a few highlights I’d like to mention where I used and developed these core competencies. The first one was my experience with “low ropes”. During the low ropes challenge my group practiced trust and communication. Without harnesses, our group of 12 had to work through the different activities using only each other as spotters to ensure safety. We did great! In one of the sections of the low ropes we were timed and we came in 1 minute faster than the same size group that completed the course before us, demonstrating our team work.

One of the challenges in the high ropes area was a “box tower building” exercise. One team member was attached to a harness while other members of the group helped stack crates as high as possible. In order to get through it, we had to listen to each other and after testing out things and trying some approaches, we came back together to make more effective decisions which respected everyone in our group and allowed us to achieve the goal. I feel that this activity brought our group closer together to achieve great heights. As a side note, our group of fourteen year olds, now shares the record for the most crates stacked, 17, with a group of firefighters and a yoga instructor.

Another noteworthy experience were the “trust falls”. Over multiple days we practiced doing various types of trust falls. This ended up being preparation for the ultimate trust fall which was off of a chair stacked on a table. I was nervous because of the height but offered to go first. This activity was very exciting due to the adrenaline coursing through my veins. It really was a significant exercise in trust as we were truly relying on our classmates to catch us and keep us from being physically hurt.

With all three of these activities described above, the three defining commonalities were that we communicated effectively and we positively encouraged one another, creating a feeling of togetherness, trust and accomplishment.

An activity I feel very important to highlight was the “crossing the line” activity. In this exercise, Jono, a Pinnacle Pursuits leader, would ask a question and if it applied to you, you would walk to the other side of the gym, across the lines. Jono would then ask us to see who was with us, who wasn’t and to recognize how we were feeling. Apart from Jono’s voice, this powerful exercise was completed in silence. I felt this activity allowed me to better understand the experiences and influences in my peers lives. This activity gave me more understanding and makes me realize how different and similar our lives and experiences are as people.

I think the answer to the driving question was reinforced during our week together. All the exercises really brought attention to the importance and value of developing strong emotional intelligence skills towards better understanding ourselves and our peers. The choices we make and subsequent actions we take today, define who we are and how others see us and set us on our future path.

Thank you for reading.

Photo credit to Caelum Cheim