Well, it is official. Summer is over! Yesterday we had our faculty retreat and team building activity which typically signals the end of summer for me.
This year it was the best in a long time. We went to the Heard Outdoor Rope Challenge course. Our principal split us into teams that approximated who we worked the closest with at school during the year. 5th and 6th grades were in a group with the PE teachers, our Resource teacher that works with our grade levels, and her aide. We were a GREAT team. Even the folks at Heard said so. We were told that we made their job really hard because everything that they normally told teams to work on we were already doing. But then - we already knew that...we pretty much get along, both at work and outside of work. I think that helps.
Our day started out with a 13 foot wall to get our team over. There were 16 people on our team, 2 couldn't participate because of injuries, so 14 of us were up to attempting the task. The rules were that you couldn't use the rope to pull yourself up, once you had two people up top each time a new person got over the wall the person that had been there the longest had to go back down, and once you had been up top you couldn't help get anyone else over the wall (other than by suggestions out loud). We got all 14 people over the wall in a little over 26 minutes! Our two tallest team members boosted people up, then another member would climb over and push a bit more and the folks at top pulled people on over. The hardest two were the first and the last person. Our first person pretty much had to just haul herself over the wall on her own, and the last person we had to use an extra harness as a grip because she just simply didn't have quite enough of a vertical leap to reach the outstreached hand of our team mate. It was awesome!
Because we finished that so quickly, we had the opportunity to try the swinging log. The challenge here was to walk from one end to the other of a log suspended in the air. Easier said than done. I managed to make it without help from any of my team mates, but it wasn't near as easy as I thought it would be with my gymnastics and balance beam background.
After that, our second station was the zip-line. Normally you have to climb a ladder to some U staples in a tree...climb the staples to a platform, walk on a rope suspended between the two trees, attach to the zip line and "fly" down. Because of time limitations we were only able to do the zip line. I managed this one too - the climb up wasn't too bad, and I knew I could do the zip line part since I had done that at Sky Ranch. The scary part was that the platform is VERY small...it is really scary to try to sit down. There really wasn't a way for me to sit without looking down at the ground - and of course one of my great fears is heights. Once I got in my seated position I was ready to go .... a quick prayer and close your eyes, roll forward and you are off. It is a rush once you are speeding down the line!
After a quick lunch break we were off to station 3. Here we saw bungee cords strung in a spiderweb shape between two trees. The objective was to get all members of our team from one side of the web to the other without touching the cords and you couldn't use a hole more than two times. We quickly developed our plan and "carried" it out, once we had two members through (one rolled under the web, the other stepped through a large hole on one side that was fairly low) we started with our smallest team member, lifted her up and simply passed her through the smallest, highest hole. Then continued this process until we had everyone through. The next to last person crawled on the backs of three of us to get over, since there weren't enough people left to pass them through....and the last person simply rolled under.
Our final task of the day was called the mountain save. There were 3 platforms. We were divided into two teams of 8 people and placed on two of the platforms. One member of each team was blindfolded as an "injured hiker" We had to move from our platform to the middle platform and the to the platform the other team was on without touching the ground. They had to do the same thing. We were given two planks to accomplish this with. Neither plank would reach all the way across the space between the platforms. We figured out that if we placed one plank as far out as we could, had 3 people stand on the end of the plank to hold it steady, we could send one of our smaller team mates out on the plank where they could place the other plank - lined up - to the other platform. This created the bridge to go across. Using this strategy several times we were able to get all 16 people to the right place.
All in all it was a good day - and a nice way to get to know the new members of our team and see how they approached problems - how they "fit in" to the dynamics of the already established teams.
After we returned to the school, I rushed home to change clothes and get to the gym. It was a short run day - I managed 3.25 miles in 35 minutes on the treadmill and another 2.2 in 20 mins on the elliptical. Wish I could run as fast as I can move my legs on the elliptical!
Monday we have the official opening of the school year with convocation and workshops. Then I'll be off and "running" for another year!