For over six years, we have been planning, coordinating and executing the highest quality outdoor trips possible for at-risk kids all over South Carolina. Since 2009 we’ve provided these trips for free for over 6,000 students and have meticulously planned each trip.
As we began to plan more advanced trips for our Adventure Team students, we realized that they loved the trips, but they didn’t completely appreciate how advanced the trips were. They didn’t realize the planning and decision making that went into each detail of the trip – they just knew that they got a schedule a few months out and if their attendance and behavior was good, they showed up at the date and time on their handout and they went on an adventure. Our staff found ourselves planning more elaborate trips and the guys not getting any more excited.
As we thought about the effort and excitement we were putting into these trips, we saw a huge opportunity to bring our students in on the process and allow them to own their program and learn some valuable life lessons. Budgeting, planning, coordinating, making decisions for a group and spending money well.
For this fall break trip we approached the whole group from the outset. We had no plan, no agenda – we would act as resources with the knowledge we had, but they would make the decisions as a group. A natural progression quickly formed. The students decided we would:
- Pick an activity (rock climbing)
- Choose a destination (Rocktown, Georgia – somewhere they had never been and we had never lead a trip too)
- Determine how long we could go
- Plan what gear would be needed
- Plan and budget for meals and equipment
- Make a plan to train (physically) to be ready for the trip
- Determine behavioral and attendance requirements (this was their own idea)
Everything changed immediately. This quickly became their trip. At once, they realized how many factors go into a trip and they dutifully planned the major parts of the trip. Every week of the semester we set aside 15-20 minutes of of our program to plan and make decisions.
By the time fall break rolled around, they were dying to go on their trip. To climb the rocks they saw in the guidebooks, and hike the mountain they had only heard of.
We were also able to surprise them with a bonus on our way down, but we’ll get to that in the next post.
We hope you’ll keep following along with us in this four part series on our 2015 Fall Break Trip. We’re hoping to let you all take a glimpse “behind the curtain” of our programs and see how we use outdoor adventures to develop at-risk kids into leaders. Click here to see the rest of the posts from this series →