As part of KO tradition, Middle School students recently left campus for a few days on team-building and orientation trips in their respective forms. Sixth-grade returned to Camp Jewell in Colebrook, Conn. Seventh-graders made their way to Fairlee, Vt.’s Camp Hulbert, while eighth-graders left for Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney, Maine.
On Wednesday, Aug. 30, seventh and eighth-grade students arrived on campus at 7:00 a.m. for an early departure to the camps, which are each at least three hours away by bus.
As soon as Form 1 arrived at Camp Hulbert, the fun began! Students immediately jumped into activities such as canoeing, helping in the dining hall, and ropes courses, to name a few. Form 1 Dean Anastasia Sullo reflected on some of the most memorable activities. “At night, you’re together with one another, maybe going on night hikes, having a fire, treats, things like that,” she said.
Mrs. Sullo explained the importance and the impact of the trip on students. “We always want to build community,” she said. “We want to really get to know one another and do that outside of the classroom.” Another goal, which will not come as a shocker, is to have fun. With the beauty and opportunity to explore Camp Hulbert, students and faculty make loads of memories.
“We also try to learn something a little bit about ourselves we didn’t know before and maybe challenge ourselves to be a little bit outside of our comfort zone, whatever that might look like,” Mrs. Sullo said. This newfound courage is then brought back from the trip with students eager to learn more about themselves and their peers in the classroom setting.
While Form 1 was building a “form family” in Vermont, Form 2 students were getting to know one another through games like Hot Dog Tag, Telephone Charades, and the experience of shared dining with friends.
New eighth-grader Manya Sehgal had a great experience, especially since this is her first year at KO. “We did a lot of blindfolded things where we had to listen to what other people were saying and trust each other,” she said. “I’m glad I made some friends when we were there.”
Later in the month on Wednesday, Sept. 20, Upper Prep students, advisors, and senior advisors left for Camp Jewell on an orientation, bonding, and team-building trip as the new sixth-graders begin their Middle School experience.
In an effort for students to connect with each other, the three-day visit included rock-wall climbing, candle-making, and archery. One of the most memorable experiences was a campfire with senior advisors when they joined for the second day of the trip.
Upper Prep Form Dean Alison O’Donnell reflected on the community and values fostered at the camp. “Having had the opportunity to work together at camp, students can hopefully bring those skills back to school and to the classroom,” she said. “The connections that they built at camp will help them as they navigate challenges at school and work together to solve problems both in and out of the classroom.”
Not only did sixth-grade students have the opportunity to connect with each other, but also to build relationships with the oldest student-leaders within the community: the Upper Prep senior advisors.
Senior advisor Emma Barringer had fun on the trip and enjoyed the time she had with her new advisees. “We were able to learn a lot more about our advisees,” she said. “We could spend time with the sixth graders and each other one-on-one outside of the school environment.”
All students know how scary a first day can be, but the adventures that the KO Middle Schoolers had allowed them to build friendships outside of the classroom that they might not have otherwise. This experience and start to the school year is truly unique, and the shared experiences the Middle Schoolers are having help define the identity of the classes.