25th Freshmen Orientation Adventure Wrap Up

The 25th Anniversary of the Freshman Orientation Adventure was attended by every ninth grader, reflecting the high regard for the trip’s exciting activities and opportunities for class bonding and personal growth. Just as in past years, students learned interesting facts about plants, animals and the environment; they did things that seemed a bit dangerous; they tried things that they had never done before; and they made new friends. They spotted deer and bears in the woods, enjoyed cool evening temperatures and enjoyed anniversary cupcakes. The students came back to school feeling genuinely appreciative that Episcopal provides educational opportunities like this trip. Without cell phones and iPads, the students were dependent upon each other, the counselors, the adults and God to guide them and keep them safe. Students wrote thank-you notes to faculty members who went on the trip, expressing appreciation for every aspect of the trip, from the lack of electronics to the long five-mile hike. It seems as though they loved it all, and many are eagerly waiting for the day that they can be counselors on a future Freshman Orientation Adventure.

The programming unit at Smithgall Woods provided extraordinary learning opportunities. Students developed skills in shooting an arrow, catching critters in a stream, building a fire and tying a variety of knots. Although the water level in the Chattooga River had been gradually dropping throughout the summer, it was much higher when students rafted due to a string of rainy days right before arrival. As always, the rafting guides made certain that our students had a great time. No matter whether the students were paddling in unison or not, they were smiling and determined each time their boats approached the big drops. They laughed and screamed. Students, who went down the rapids backwards, got stuck on the rocks or flipped out of the rafts, counted themselves fortunate. For years to come, they will have the best stories to tell!

Determined and energetic faculty members took thousands of pictures on the trip, and the best photos are now posted on the school’s Flicker account in two files. Students in buses one and two were on the Gold Team, and students in buses three and four were on the Maroon Team. In the upcoming weeks, students will be given some photos of themselves to take home. A video montage of the best 500 photos is being prepared. Students will watch it together during the school day in November, and then each student will be given a copy to bring home.