On Thursday and Friday, September 7th and 8th, the Middle and High Schools participated in a 6th and 9th grade Bobcat Team Challenge Day, to support students who were transitioning between schools. On September 7th, the day prior to the actual challenge day, the 7th, 8th, 11th and 12th grade students were trained as “Peer Leaders” by staff from the Kent Mountain Adventure Center.
During the Bobcat Team Challenge Day on September 8th, the students worked together as groups with their peer leaders in various challenge stations on the Bobcat practice field. The obstacles included physical challenges such as the spider web, caterpillar boards, balance beams, and stepping stones. The partnership with Kent Mountain Adventure Center was made possible by a grant from the Village Thrift Shop, and key leader, Harry Kent. Kent agreed that the opportunity of creating a transition program that involved outdoor adventure components was a major strength to our community. He and his team did an incredible job of creating a meaningful day for all involved.
Transitions between schools from elementary to middle schools, and middle to high schools can be a very difficult time for students and parents/guardians alike. The idea behind this activity was to create more opportunities for team building, social skills, and positive interaction.
Research shows that building upon positive interactions and peer support creates many benefits for students entering a new school; especially for at-risk students. This reason primarily led the counseling team to pursue the grant application to the Village Thrift Shop earlier in the year. Estes Park Schools is truly grateful for the support of the Village Thrift Shop and the award of the grant requested, as well as the collaboration from Kent Mountain Adventure Center. The generosity of both organizations was key in creating this activity and the school counselors hope to gain further support to continue this in the future.