The day consisted of 2 sets of activities:
One half of the day, everyone participated in ice breakers, team builders, and different activities and games. These were designed to get students to think critically and work together to achieve some sort of result.
The other half of the day, everyone had the opportunity to conquer the high ropes course. To start, everyone put on harnesses and grabbed all the equipment they would need. Then, we went through a practice session to learn how to use the equipment and how to stay safe while on the course. After that was completed, then it was go time!
Poles, ladders, nets, ropes, and a million challenges while suspended high in the air.
For me, a cool part was seeing my progression from last year to this year. This year, it took a lot less time, and I think that is because of the confidence gained by repeating it. High ropes courses are more mental challenges than anything- even though you know you're not going to fall 50 feet, you still have to convince yourself that. And when you're staring straight down at the ground, jumping and climbing across obstacles, sometimes rationalizing gets thrown out the window.
The most rewarding part of this is seeing everyone's sense of accomplishment when they finish. The end of the course is a zipline ride down to the ground, and seeing the excitement as people jump off the ledge and glide down the line is the best! The reaction is usually the same: when you pull up in front of it, it looks so intimidating. "There is NO WAY I am doing this!" Then, while you're on it, it's very challenging. But at the very top, when you can ring the bell, and you're standing on top of the world looking out for miles, you realize that 1. Florida is flaaattttt and 2. I can do anything!
Helping the students at USFSP get that feeling 2 years in a row has been incredible, and I hope they continue to have the retreat in the years to come, even after I leave...