MSK Adventure Course Sports New Challenges for Students and Teachers

[add_slideshow align=”right” slideshowcaption=”Bridge Team sixth graders try out the new elements on the adventure course”]With “all for one and one for all” bravado Tom Taylor’s sixth graders jockey for position as they attempt one of the newest elements on the Middle School’s Adventure Course.  It’s called King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, essentially a rope swing that students must grasp and use to get themselves across an imaginary moat and into a circle on the other side.

“Ready?” calls out one student.
“Swing away!” call his classmates, some safely across the moat and positioned in the circle, ready to assist him in his task.

The Adventure Course has several new elements this fall for students to use thanks to a donation from Quest Fitness and businesses in Kennebunk’s Get Movin’ Committee, who teamed up and held a walking challenge this past May to raise funds for the course.   Ten thousand dollars was donated to add the elements, an outdoor classroom and a native edible garden at MSK.

Teaming up is just what the low ropes course is all about.  The exercises encourage students to communicate, take healthy risks, and work with kids they might not normally rely on as partners in class.  Taylor says new leaders emerge during these outdoor adventures; he hopes these students continue to show that leadership in the classroom too.

“What did we do well as a team?” Taylor asks.  “We helped each other and had a good time.”

The team of facilitators for the Adventure Course is also growing larger, due to a $5,665 grant from the Education Foundation to train 22 more teachers on it this past summer.

“It was team building for teachers,” says Sixth Grade Team Leader Pam Bridge.  “It gets you pumped up.”  She also says it’s helpful to have extra hands, eyes and instruction on the elements.  The Swinging Vines, Burma Bridge and Mohawk Walk are a three-sided tight wire challenge that has multiple teams of kids working at once so extra supervision is a must.

At the end of the day there are lots of grins.

“That was fun,” says one student.  “Awesome,” chimes in another.

“You did an awesome job encouraging each other,” Bridge says when her group takes a moment to reflect on the outdoor afternoon.  “I was really impressed with that.”

The low ropes course was first built in the spring and summer of 2009.  It is constructed of cables, wooden beams and ropes strung among trees and poles on MSK grounds.  The Education Foundation funded the first phase of the course.