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Expanding their limits

By Staff | May 13, 2010

Estherville Lincoln Central Challenge students faced the challenge of moving counselor Patrick up a hill without touching the A-Frame he’s standing in. Photo submitted

Going to school means learning. Learning, however, can come in all shapes and sizes. There is the lecture-type of learning and the hands-on-type too. While each appeal to different senses, the hands-on type usually takes place outside the classroom.

Challenge students in grades 6th and 8th at Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School recently experienced a remarkable field trip to Camp Foster in Dickinson County for the Ropes Course. Challenge teacher is Lois Fraser. Also accompanying the group was Jenica Arends. Camp Foster personnel on hand were Tony Wagnitz, Patrick and Wellington.

“We found this to be a great team building/risk taking session,” Fraser said. “It wasn’t long before the leaders in our group floated to the top.”

While there was some hesitation by certain students at varying parts of the course, they all made the attempt to try everything. One student had some second thoughts while climbing up to the wires. Fraser and the other students offered encouragement and the student continued upward. While the student didn’t complete the activity, she was pleased that she had gone farther than she expected.

Fraser said, “A lot of the kids were nervous on the wires. But the important thing is they did it!”

Emily Behrends climbs a rope ladder as part of the challenges ELC students faced at Camp Foster. Photo submitted

The activity challenging the students the most was an A-frame structure with connected ropes. “My students had to walk the A-frame structure down the hill using the ropes. They could not touch the A-Frame,” she said. “This activity strengthened their skills on team-building, cooperating, listening to others and following the given directions.” This event lasted about 30 minutes. Fraser also noted that on the way back up the hill either Patrick or she was standing on the A-frame while students transported the structure by ropes.

Arends commented “I was surprised Patrick did not let go of the A-frame as he is face down and a foot from the ground. The kids showed amazing teamwork and communication skills to get him upright.”

“I am really impressed with how the leadership in my students emerged. What they learned for sure is how a plan has to be in place to achieve the goal.”

Arriving at Camp Foster, the students were divided into two groups. Working the morning and afternoon sessions, both groups worked through the course, including these activities: Human Knot, Poison Pathway, ET Shuffle, All Aboard, A-Frame and Electrical fence.

The last course of the day was the high wire course. Everyone was brave enough to try this challenge even if they did not get across the wires. “The wires were 20 feet above ground. Each student was harnessed and attached to a rope that either Tony or Patrick was holding,” Fraser explained. “There were two options to cross the wires. They could use the spaghetti ropes. These were ropes that were hanging down about every 5 feet. The students would hold onto one rope and slide over until they could reach the next rope. The other option was to hang onto a higher rope and slide across. When they reached the end they were to hug the tree. They were then lowered to the ground by the Camp Foster personnel.”