Path Finders Trip by Sydney Shriver

The Student Service Program took a trip to Bay Pines for a ropes course. None of us knew each other. We hadn’t met for more than introductions and that had been weeks ago. At least I was lucky because I came from Largo High School and two of my friends had been accepted. I was nervous, but I’m sure that everyone was. Meeting new people is always awkward and although we were excited, the nerves were still there. I’d say the bus ride was the least eventful, getting on last meant I had to sit with someone whom I had already known. Arriving at Bay Pines was exciting because I could finally talk to new faces. We met our guides for the day and began the experience. The games at the beginning were fun; I liked how we learned everyone’s name. When it started pouring, I had Ryan as my partner to walk back. We learned that we had both been named after famous people/shows and had siblings, but he had a lot more than I did. We made it back to the meeting room without getting struck by lightning and discussed what we learned about our partners. Everyone talked and the discussion taught us a lot about each other. It was how we began to build a semblance of friendships with one another. Some people shared more personal facts about themselves, showing that they were more comfortable in the environment, but everyone was amiable. Eventually we moved on and played this game where we held a rope in a circle. There was a knot tied in the rope and the goal was to have it pass through everyone’s hands in a specific order. We tried and it took about 23 seconds. That’s good enough, we all thought, and wanted to move on, but when the guide said the average was two seconds our determination kicked in. We had to beat two seconds and everyone threw out ideas until we eventually got our time down to a solid one half of a second. We went out to the ropes course after that. It was still pouring rain, but the lightning was a safe distance away. Everyone was freezing cold and soaking wet, but we really wanted to go on the ropes. We attempted the rock climbing wall, which was quite hard. It was up to our team to keep us from falling and hurting ourselves A few people were successful and a few weren’t, but we all trusted each other. Whether you succeeded or didn’t, no one really failed. It was up to us to push our own limits and no one on the team stopped us. I definitely had some trouble with the rock climbing and didn’t complete it, but allowing my team to lower me back down greatly increased my trust for them. It was amazing how much support there was because everyone cheered for whoever happened to be climbing at the time. We had all known each other for barely two hours and could act like a group of old friends. After the climbing and zip lining we split into two groups for two other areas of Bay Pines. I chose the leap of faith and was eager to go first. Climbing onto the pole, which seemed so high up, and staring out at the people who were going to keep me suspended in the air was scary. I took the leap and it was amazing. Plus, it really reinforced the trust I had in these new faces. As the day came to a close, we met up to discuss our experiences. I believe there was a unanimous amazement that we could become friends so quickly and everyone was excited to meet up again. We all hoped to continue these good relationships and believed that the Bay Pines trip was a meaningful experience. The trip was only a few hours, but it was enough time to overcome the barriers of starting friendships and built our trust in each other. I’m really happy with what I learned and how I grew as a person because of the team-building trip at Bay Pines.