Throughout this school year, we have had the opportunity to work with Somerville’s Next Wave Junior High School and Full Circle High School. Next Wave / Full Circle teaches students who have difficulty learning in traditional educational settings. They boast of an environment safe for every member of the community and a place where everyone is treated with respect.
David Aronofsky, teacher at NWFC, got a taste of Waypoint programming last year and sought his own funding to make it happen for his students again this year. He champions the belief that adventure education has a “positive impact on building self-esteem and confidence in [his] students.” We whole-heartedly agree!
This year, the theme was community and we built a strong one throughout time at school working through team initiatives and five adventures off campus (indoor and outdoor rock climbing, snowshoeing, hiking, and the ropes course). Students quickly caught on that working through challenges equips you for life! Each teen took their role within the community seriously; They were supportive of one-another’s progress and courage. It’s in knowing that our community is encouraging that we’re more willing to try something new.
Check out this series:
Teambuilding program: Students had to (1) get two different weighted balls into the bucket across the gym without letting either one hit the ground and without anyone touching the ball; and (2) lower a hula hoop with keeping only a flat finger underneath to support the weight. Both simulated challenges introduced the idea of working together with a common goal and purpose.
Indoor Rock Climbing: At Central Rock Climbing Gym in Watertown, students were encouraged to take the challenge and try something new. One student’s experience was so impactful, she wrote about it in the Full Circle Newsletter.
“It was a good experience because not only did people have fun, but we got together and really got to show support and be a group. I got to meet some of the the kids I wasn’t that close to in school!”
Snowshoeing: In February, we were able to explore snowy trails and work together to follow our map through the Middlesex Fells. Many students were experiencing snowshoeing for the first time! To cap it all off, we enjoyed hot chocolate with the views of the hills on one side and Boston on the other.
Outdoor Rock Climbing: In April, we spent the day in the woods using the team-belay to keep each other safe. We talked a bit more about how we can rely on each other and why supporting each other is so important.
Hike: On a hot and gorgeous day in the Blue Hills, we went up to Hancock Hill and enjoyed some amazing views of Boston, the Atlantic, and felt a little like we’d made our way to New Hampshire. Everyone in the group had a great perspective on why it’s important to look out for one another. Countless times on the hike, a hand was extended, the bug spray shared, or some encouraging words were given to get up and over a hard spot. It was an awesome day!
The Ropes Course: Our final adventure! We wrapped up our series in Waltham at Cedar Hill Day Camp. (Thank you gracious hosts from Girl Scouts of Eastern MA!). What turned out to be another gorgeous day filled with teamwork, laughter and memories was a great way to end the series. Students walked away with ideas as to why are we valuable to the many communities we are part of, and how what we do everyday impacts the community and each individual member.
Thanks for a great series Next Wave/Full Circle School! You have an awesome community to begin with. We were glad we got to help build it even more!
P.S. David A, teacher, emailed us soon after this post was published with the following letter. Check out the progress of a student who made huge strides in confidence because of the relationships built and challenges overcome. Way to go Jess!