Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mud Bonding

On Tuesday, our team traveled to Voorheesville to lend a hand to the Patroon Land Farm, which provides produce for the Regional Food Bank.  This trip serves as our team bonding event in order to bring all 115 students together to socialize and give back to the community.  This trip was especially important this year since many of our students had to switch houses.  We hoped that this trip would help kids get to know one another in a shared experience.  And oh what an experience it was!

Upon our arrival, we gathered in the barn so that students could hear from one of the farmers as he explained the work we would be doing.  He also gave some important history about the land, farm and purpose of their work.  There were two important jobs that they needed our assistance with, so we divided up and got to work.

A third of the team entered the greenhouse, where they were picking peppers, boxing potatoes and, luckily for them, keeping warm.  The rest of us made our way out to the fields, where we were asked to harvest rainbow Swiss chard.  We had to break the stalks down low and gather them up into a bunch and bound them with a rubber band.  Seemed like a simple enough of a job.  Little did we know what awaited us...lots and lots of mud.

As one of the teachers who was helping and supervising, I assumed that upon hearing the directions from the farmer who accompanied us that we needed to avoid the muddy trenches and use the the ones on the outer rows that were more dry, that this was clearly understood.  It never occurred to me that students would actually want to trudge through the mud and the muck.  Oh how wrong I was!

One student after another blithely walked into the mud pits and looked up in astonishment as they discovered themselves submerged and stuck.  One student earnestly asked if this was "quick mud" and was that why people were getting stuck.  It quickly became apparent that some in our group had little to no experience with mud.  There were others though that, like the pigs we had to avoid on our drive in, reveled in the mud and the mess it made of them.

I will be honest that my patience quickly ran out as one more student became stuck, as another shoe was lost, as another pair of hands were dipped into the muddy pits.  I underestimated the lure of the mud to a 12 year-old.  Silly teacher!

But as I look back on that day, I think the mud helped to accomplish exactly what the purpose of the trip was:  team bonding.  Peers were going after each other to rescue them from their muddy fate regardless if it put themselves in the same peril.  And while it was the messiest field trip I have ever been on, it was also the one where students were the most dependent on each other.  And at the end of the day, we all learned a great deal about each other.

 Please visit our Hia7A All the Way website to view the entire photo album of our trip!

No comments: