Earlier this month, the seventh grade celebrated the beginning of their new, two-year loop at the picturesque Hosmer Point in Craftsbury, VT. The field trip to Hosmer Point is considered a right of passage for BFA middle schoolers as it is a day dedicated to focusing on coming together as a team, reflecting on our sense of integrity & self, and living in the moment so that we can take the most from our experiences together. While it was a long bus ride to the camp, the journey was well worth the wait as students and staff alike were taken-aback by the spectacle that was the peak fall foliage of Vermont, easily visible in all its glory from atop the hill where our team gathered to commence the day’s activities.
To kick things off, students were grouped into teams of 12-14 students and tasked with working together to complete the Checkpoint Challenge.
This challenge is designed in a way that fosters collaboration as each group needs to overcome each checkpoint’s challenge — be it state trivia or a friendly game of cornhole — to advance to the next checkpoint.
Of course, there was also a healthy dash of competition as each group was racing to see which team would be the first to complete all of the challenges. Sounds of laughter, cheers, direction, and encouragement, as well as rapid footfall, could be heard from all directions as students rallied together to meet the challenges head-on.
All teams were successful in passing each checkpoint’s test by the tolling of the camp’s bell, which signaled lunchtime.
After lunch, our group assembled once more to learn the history of a game that originated in the Scottish Highlands, a game of Stones. This game originated from farmers who needed to complete the task of de-stoning their fields before they could till the land — an experience that we Vermonters may face yearly. While this was a daunting task, the Highland farmers knew that it would be far more positive, tolerable, and efficient if they could make a game out of the experience, and so a game of Stones was born. The goal of this game is to see which of two families, or teams, could amass the largest pile of stones from a field thus winning the contest. Students were challenged to work as a team to simultaneously capture stones while defending their piles from their rivals. From their experience with the game of Stones, students learned about and experienced the value of incorporating fun and play within the routine of daily work as well as the importance of communication.
Our visit to Hosmer Point concluded with a final team-based tradition: an egg drop. One of the checkpoint challenges tasked students with creating a safe and secure nest made only of natural materials they found on the property such as hay, vines, and twigs.
Throughout their day, each team needed to keep their singular egg nestled safely within the bundle of materials. Such a feat required students to combine their knowledge of how to create secure structures that can withstand great forces like being dropped from the top of a roof. While no school has yet to have every group’s egg survive the plummet, our seventh-graders received an impressive score of 3 out of 6 eggs surviving the crash-landing.
Most adults look back and remember middle school as a pivotal time in their life. Seventh grade, it seems, is a year where most find themselves on the threshold of discovering who they are as individuals, who they want to be, and their place in this ever-evolving world. Our day at Hosmer Point was one to remember, a touchstone memory that our students can look back on as they go forth into these next two years where they will need to rely on each other, as well as themselves, to bring about the positivity, the change, the unity, the respect, and the integrity that will allow them to not only find great success but to become the role models we know they can be.