climbing to new heights of trust and friendship
The seventh grade class of Davis Waldorf School braved the elements in our ropes course field trip with Challenge Sonoma near Napa Valley, CA. Our leaders took us on a two-day adventure of progressively challenging events. Tethered safely to a belayer on the ground, the students scaled coastal redwoods, traversed across cables spanning at 60 feet above ground, zip-lined down through the trees, and clambered up a vertical "playpen" of ropes and ladders.
The physical aspect of the events supported the building of social and spiritual capacities. Not only did the students challenge their physical abilities of agility, flexibility, strength, and coordination, but they also discovered personal inner strength, and interpersonal cooperation, encouragement, and trust.
It was on the second day, as we stood on fallen conifer branches and mud, with our harnesses tightly fastened, and helmets providing no comfort against the rain, and staring up at 200 foot tall redwoods with metal handholds stapled to their trunks, that I experienced the quiet fire that resided in the hearts of my students: we were on a mission to conquer our own personal fears and reservations, and meet our own personal goals. And the only way we would succeed in this mission was to support each other, to trust our leaders, and ultimately, to trust our own selves.