By: Alyssa Pimentel
A group of Dragonfly young adults and staff recently packed up their gear and traveled to Jackson Campground in Jacksonville, OR over the Memorial Day weekend. The group arrived late Friday afternoon, set up camp, and explored the Applegate River.
Saturday was dedicated to team building and creating connection within the group. The team spent the day at Applegate Lake Reservoir where students were guided through team building exercises that emphasized communication and trust.
In one exercise, the group circled around holding a rope in order to demonstrate its unifying strength and provided opportunities for individuals to recognize the effect of communication when the source is one person rather than multiple voices, when working in a group.
During the final exercise at the reservoir, students were directed on a variance game on trust. This activity entailed placing students in pairs, where one individual was blindfolded and their partner guided them towards a final destination. Throughout the game, students were given different challenges, which pushed them out of their comfort zones.
The group enjoyed lunch by the lake, and later throwing around a football and relaxing under the shade of the trees before heading off to the next spot.
The final team building activity for the day included a hike on the Gin Lin Mining Trail, in conjunction with an interactive problem-solving scenario, in which groups of students were asked to work together to overcome certain (figurative) obstacles. This activity was completed while hiking separately in groups and accompanied by a staff who added new layers to the original scenario. The intention behind this activity was to practice problem solving, emphasizing each other’s strengths, and communication.
By the time the team arrived back at camp, the group was ready to begin winding down for the evening. Everyone worked together in cooking up burgers for dinner and starting a fire to sit around and enjoy afterwards. During this time, students were prompted to think of two reflective questions to ask the group during Intentional Council Space later that evening.
After dinner, students gathered around the fire as rain began to fall. Council began with a brief explanation of how cultures have used council to cultivate a sacred space, connection, vulnerability, and communication within the group. Each person placed two written reflective questions into a metal bowl. The bowl was then passed around the circle, and each person drew a question and selected an individual whom they wished to answer the same question. All were in agreement that the space created a deeper connection and a greater understanding of all.
Sunday was the final day of activities, which focused on being outdoors and having fun before returning home. The group ate breakfast, packed their lunches, and headed out to Great Cats World Park in Cave Junction, OR. Students admired large wild cats, such as the White Tiger, Clouded Leopard, and jaguars, and the smaller, though still feisty, cats such as the caracal, fishing cat, and wildcat. By the end of the tour, lion cubs were introduced to the group and students were able to pet the lion cubs, which was naturally a favorite event for all.
Mid-afternoon, the group visited Out’N’About Treehouse Treesort where students walked through a village of beautiful tree houses perched high in the pines, making their way to a clearing where the group suited up and enjoyed a series of 6 zip lines through the forest.
The morning of Memorial Day, after the campsite had been packed up, the group gathered around once more to reflect on the trip while eating breakfast. Many students felt they had made new friendships and built upon existing connections. Others discovered some existing relationships were stronger than they had thought.
Finally, ready to sleep in their own beds, the group, excited while also tired, made the drive back to Klamath Falls.