FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – What happens when you bring students together from five different middle and high schools around the state on a field trip to teach leadership and diversity skills? A lot of fun happens and growth in accepting others.
At Winding Trails in Farmington, the mission is to spend a day in nature with others you have never met and come away with respect for others and their opinions.
The students are members of their student councils. It’s the hope that they’ll take back to their council’s lessons learned that are all important, and that the ideas and thoughts of others should be welcomed and heard.
Leadership and team-building skills are front and center among the students who are just meeting each other from Conard High School, Thomaston High School, Connecticut IB Academy, Woodland Regional, and Derby Middle School. Comfort zones need to be left behind to understand how to work together.
“Talking to people that we don’t know, especially upcoming students, that are going to be in the leadership program,” said Andrew Nguyen, a sophomore at Connecticut IB Academy. “We can find different ways to communicate with one another if we have some types of trouble or a wall that we need to overcome.”
The assignments seem simple, but big things are learned through strategies. Common ground and balance are achieved.
“It’s good to listen to everyone’s opinion. Like there’s no ‘I’ in team basically, that one, and it’s good to listen to other people’s opinions because they might have something better or something that might help you, so it’s important to listen to everyone’s ideas,” said Jocelyn Rosa, senior at Conard High School.
The students came together as total strangers. By day’s end, they learned common ground and an ability to trust each other. In the end, their horizons are broadened for the future.
They learned that seeing differences in others reveals just how similar we all really are.