Onekama Students take part in team building day

ONEKAMA — Ropes, walls, crates, ladders, and blindfolds: these are not the typical learning tools found in our schools.

Nate Corey participates in the crate stacking challenge, as he is supported and encouraged by his classmate Adam Domres.

Nate Corey participates in the crate stacking challenge, as he is supported and encouraged by his classmate Adam Domres.

However, these were the perfect educational instruments for a day of team building initiatives for the eighth grade class of Onekama Consolidated Schools.

On Nov. 1, thirty eighth-grade students and three teachers boarded the school bus for the short ride to the Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp, the school’s Onekama neighbors. The staff at the camp designed a full day of team building activities that focused on communication, cooperation, and collaboration.

Made possible by a grant from the Manistee County Community Foundation’s Limitless Fund, this field trip was more than a day of games in the woods. It involved structured team building activities – for students and teachers – designed to build trust among this group of (great!) kids, and to help them believe in themselves and each other. Additionally, it was an opportunity to continue to set the tone for the school year, as one of positivity and connectedness.

“I think our class got a lot closer because of the trip,” commented Onekama eighth grade student Billie Sedlar. “We really had to get our of our comfort zone and learn to trust others.”

Added classmate Noel Cebula, “Trust was so important, because we were literally picking each other up and we were being lifted through the air. We had to really talk and trust to accomplish each challenge.”

The grant opportunity and the design of the day also represents an effort by Onekama teachers to make their eighth grade school year a great one for this special group of students, especially as they prepare for their end-of-the-year class trip to Chicago.

At the end of the day, students met in the camp’s welcome center to debrief and reflect on the day’s learning outcomes.

At the end of the day, students met in the camp’s welcome center to debrief and reflect on the day’s learning outcomes.

“What a special opportunity this was to connect with our students outside of the classroom, and to watch them challenge themselves and support one another,” explained Onekama middle school math teacher Michele Warman.

Continued Warman, “The camp staff really engaged students in positive, professional, and creative ways. The skills students practiced today – communication, teamwork, and problem solving – are skills that will strengthen their achievements in the classroom and will help them navigate the waters of middle school and beyond.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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