by Sinna Zheng (Class of 2018)
This year’s PTO trip was probably the best one yet. On Saturday, September 30th, the Girls’ Division drove down to the Alliance Redwood Conservation, a beautiful forest, for a day of fun and challenges. Upon arrival, everyone split into their respective ways before eagerly hiking to their respective destinations.
The Elementary school girls spent the morning rock climbing. Junior High explored the High Swings while the Freshmen and Sophomores navigated their way through an obstacle course. A little further into the woods, the Juniors and Seniors braved the High Ropes Course.
Throughout all these activities, all the girl schoolers learned a whole new layer to the term “safety first” and all became familiar to the ins and outs of safety gears and belays as they spent a considerable amount of time with both feet off the ground. “I love safety” became the catchphrase of the day. “All the cool kids love safety,” said an instructor, and one can’t help but agree that it’s not exactly the smoothest move to fall from such heights. While physics experiments may be fun, being a physics experiment is terrifying.
After a delicious lunch of vegan hot dogs, chips, and sparkling water, everyone gathered together once more for an afternoon of team building.
To our delight, the group activities were a far cry from ones we’ve grown used to. One group was challenged with the Team Wall, a smooth vertical wall with absolutely no hand or foot holds. The task was to get each member of the team up and over the wall. Because the vast majority of us was vertically challenged and one could only be lifted so far, many looked at the wall in wonder: how could we haul ourselves up the rest of the length and climb over onto the other side? However, we quickly figured it out. While some lifted, others spotted and made sure there were no casualties. Those on the other side of the wall assisted the climber and eased them over. This, however, was not the difficult part. Away from cameras and deep in the forest with only our classmates and one staff member watching our back, we learned that sometimes, “It’s not that I don’t trust you guys. It’s that I don’t trust myself.”
To sum it up, teamwork is not only about effectiveness, but also the team dynamics behind it. We were reminded that to build a comfortable atmosphere, we need to trust as well as respect each other. As one student put it, we went from “Ah Boys to Men.”1 In other words, we might not be training for the army, but we are definitely “a band of brothers” after that.
The girls students at IGDVS are all grateful to have been able to experience the wonders at the Alliance Redwood Conservation and extend a huge thank you to all the parents and teachers in the PTO for making this trip possible.
1 Ah Boys to Men (2012) is a Singaporean-Chinese comedy film directed by Jack Neo