Ropes Course


On May 25, the eighth grade class took a trip to the Presidio, and spent the day on the Fort Miley Adventure Challenge Course. Traditionally, the graduating class participates in this program in the first couple months of the school year to build teamwork, and bond the students together. They set goals, practice leadership, and build trust in one another to prepare for the coming year. This year, the site where farm school was held had no ropes course, so the eighth graders waited until the end of the year to participate in this tradition.

We arrived at 9:00 AM, at an unfamiliar ropes course, not entirely hidden by trees, but next to other SF landmarks. We knew that this wouldn’t be a Farm School experience. We began our experience with a few trust falls and team games. We then received helmets, and proceeded to brave a metal tightrope together, which was a staggering foot off the ground.

Eventually, we suited up in harnesses, to begin the real ropes course, around 200 feet in the air. Our activities included more tightropes, various balancing courses, jumping from a very tall pole, and lastly, the zipline.

The point of the ropes course activity, the course leaders assured us, was to support each other during these activities, and use trust to get over your fears. I had never been on a ropes course, and it was reassuring to have my friends cheering me on. One of the sections of the course was particularly difficult, but a great opportunity for teamwork. Two people began at different sides of a tightrope, each holding a long rope, which would stretch the distance of the metal cord. Each person walked towards the other, holding onto their respective ropes, and when they reached the middle, they had to step across each other. Falling wasn’t something to be afraid of, because the harnesses were safe, and we knew what to expect from our partners, so we could thoroughly enjoy the challenges.

Although the ropes course is usually done at the beginning of the year at Farm School to bond the class, since we didn’t have it then this year, we bonded instead over our Farm School trip as a whole, the production of our play, and our trip to Costa Rica. By the time we came to this rite of passage, we were already pros at teamwork and trust. This helped us throughout the course, because we already knew each other well enough to know what kind of encouragement would work for each individual. As a whole, the trip did not do for us what it has done in the past. We didn’t make our first bond, we reaffirmed every one that we had made in the past year.

— By Jessica Rosenfield-Schot, Synergy Alumni

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