Why would a team in a profession already worn thin take 40 tweens and teens camping…the third week of classes? Because human-centered learning is worth the effort.
Neuroscience tells us humans need to feel safe and then welcome to be ready to access their frontal lobes and get to learning. So the LEADPrep team spent the first two weeks of school acclimating youth to our all-in experiential model and the new combination of students and teachers. Then last week we headed to a national park south of us. 100% of our students participated.
Quick quiz: How many kids do you know who feel confident 24/7…
…away from peers and family?
…with no electronics?
…in a school group?
For most youth, this four-day challenge would be a stretch. The results of taking this risk? Confidence, new skills (paddle boarding, shelter building, cooking over a cook stove, sharing a small space/tent…), and appreciation for nature. Plus resilience. Obstacles were faced. Iterations were taken to get to success.
And fun. Two teams challenged the other to creating a waterproof shelter OR having the teacher/coach experience water…via submersion in the nearby Green River. The judge declared both team captains tied. So the teachers (followed by about 20 of the rest of us) ended up laughing and submerged in the chilly river waters.
A full day of DnD in the woods or paddle boarding or hiking (student choice) added to the adventure.
We all do better when we know we are seen, heard, and valued. Caring can make all of the difference. Listening late at night to a middle school boy comforting a homesick tentmate was a beautiful example of the opportunities students took to care and be cared for.
How might we extend this idea of shared experience to each of our cultures / workplaces? How can we collaborate and take on challenges? How can we be both vulnerable AND cared for? Human-centered design is worth the wonderful results!