Teen Pep Team Builds Trust

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Teen Pep Team Builds Trust

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On October 2, 2019, the DMAE Teen Pep class went on a three-day retreat to Camp Bernie in Port Murray, NJ. The annual retreat is meant to be a bonding experience for the students as they engage in interactive group activities that build community within the class.  

“I always hope that the trip will help create a well adjusted, cohesive team that will effectively problem solve and become comfortable when given a collaborative task,” coordinator Maria Buckley said. 

Ms. Buckley and history teacher Brian Foster chaperoned the group of 28 students who attended the trip. The students were broken up into two groups once they arrived at the campsite. Each group engaged in group-building activities for which they were given specific and difficult tasks to complete. In one activity, for example, they had to work together to get every team member onto the other side of a low rope without touching the rope. The purpose of these tasks was to build cooperation and communication skills, and bring students closer to each other. 

“The activities really forced us to work together as a group, which I appreciated because it served as an amazing bonding experience that opened the door to many new friendships,” senior Kamila Mazzoni said. 

Students also took part in archery and the Swing, a landmark Camp Bernie activity that takes students 30 feet into the air over a lake.  

In between the games and physical activities, the students also learned the Teen Pep curriculum through a series of listening and sharing activities. Boundary Breaking was a favorite among the students,  and its objective was to understand commonalities within the group and become more aware and empathetic of each other. After these sharing activities, the group reflected on what they learned.

I had an awesome time at the retreat. It allowed me to learn … that everyone goes through their own struggles.”

— I had an awesome time at the retreat. It was an eye opener for me because it allowed me to learn about other people’s experiences, which made me realize that everyone goes through their own struggles.

During the last night of the trip, the entire group engaged in an activity called Sharing which allowed the students to further open up about their personal struggles and connect with each other on a deeper level. 

“I had an awesome time at the retreat. It was an eye opener for me because it allowed me to learn about other people’s experiences, which made me realize that everyone goes through their own struggles. I feel like the sharing activities especially helped us connect as a group,” senior Natalia Krol explained thoughtfully. 

While the retreat was an overall success, the cold and rainy weather put a damper on some of the planned outdoor activities on the second day. The group did not get to enjoy zip-lining, which is typically a student favorite. Nonetheless, students felt the retreat was a successful and worthwhile experience as it allowed for new friendships to be born and unforgettable memories to be made. 

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