We set aside two days at the beginning of each year because we think it’s important to start the year off right and come together as a school community. It is full of team building and tradition – and that’s how we build and reinforce our school culture.
One of the oldest and most enduring traditions, Powhatan held its 40th Upper School Retreat at Camp Rim Rock in West Virginia. A wonderful event that encourages teamwork and collaboration through fun and challenging events, it is an experience that bonds classmates and teachers alike and is one of the important milestones in the Upper School.
A centerpiece of Retreat is the Full Value Contract.
One of the unique facets of the Upper School community is the Advisement program. Throughout the regular school year each faculty member mentor meets with six students for three mornings each week based on the Responsive Classroom SEL program. It supports student’s social and emotional growth throughout the year and it starts with Retreat.
Almost immediately upon arrival at camp the students break into their advisement groups and begin to work on how they will make the most out of their Retreat experience. They create written guidelines taking personal responsibility for how they will contribute to and make the most positive impact on the retreat.
Many of the advisement groups used the 5 Pillars of the Powhatan School mission statement as a framework for creating the Full Value Contract. As Retreat comes to a close, students are reminded that the Full Value Contract is not just for Retreat, but is a contract for how we will treat each other for the rest of the school year.
After lunch, the first afternoon is full of activities. Students might go on a two-hour hike up to an overlook or participate in team building challenge activities.
Over the years, some of the best lessons of teamwork and problem solving stem from Upper School Retreat. Students often refer to the Challenge Activities as the most memorable and fun part of Upper School Retreat. We rotate challenge activities each year, so that the experience stays exciting.
Students participate in team building challenge activities. Challenge activities create the perfect environment for students to collaborate, make new friends, problem-solve, hone their communication skills and have plenty of fun!
This year, the 3 Challenge Activities included:
Safety School Communication Breakdown Mystery Shapes