I Can’t Becomes I Did: Summer Connections Week 5

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Last week, students climbed aboard the ferry for the final Friday of Summer Connections, 2018. The energy in the air was electric, with students experiencing a mix of excitement and sadness on the hot day. “I am sad- this is the most fun summer I’ve had on earth,” shared one student. Students have much to be proud of as Summer Connections draws to a close.

The last day centered around the publishing party, a chance for students to share the physical results of a summer of scientific curiosity and learning. Individually, students each studied a specific organism from the island and crafted a guide to the organism’s characteristics, skills, and function. Collectively, each class gathered the charts and presented them as field guides. Through these projects, students employed their scientific observation skills and fostered evident attachments to different species. One student studied the starling, and noted, “I like the starling because I love studying birds, they’re my favorite animal and it’s a very small and cute type of bird.”

A student who studied the cottontail rabbit shared his excitement about seeing the animal in person that morning before boarding the boat, and another loved learning about the horseshoe crab “because of its cool tail. It is able to protect itself through use of the point on its tail.” The field guides burst with color, detail-oriented drawings, and streamlined information. Parents, on the island for the day, along with classmates and staff, listened and asked questions as students presented the field guides.

Outside of science, the last day celebrated the social and emotional learning that the students developed this summer. During “Pillar Presentations,” students took the stage, with each group presenting a skit on one of the five Outward Bound pillars: Compassion, Service, Physical Fitness, Craftsmanship, and Self-Reliance.

The group “Wolfe Squad,” defined physical fitness as “the ability to carry out tasks without undue fatigue.” After opening up the skit with a backflip by one of the students, the group listed out examples of physical fitness, such as exercising, eating healthy, drinking water, and getting enough sleep.

Each member of group number two, “The Forces,” explained what craftsmanship means to him or her. “Craftsmanship to me is pride, the feeling you get after your hard work is done,” shared one student. “A leader who has craftsmanship supports not only themselves, but the whole group. For example, our group was determined to play wolf pack so we all finished our work on time and played as a reward,” explained another student.

A third group incorporated self-reliance into environmental justice, demonstrating that we each have an individual responsibility to pick up trash. Students acted out a scenario in which a person who fails to pick up trash gets a lesson on proper environmental action through signs, posters, and a chant of “reduce, reuse, recycle!” that many members of the audience joined in on. “We need everyone’s help to clean cities, beaches, and national parks,” announced a student in the group.

To illustrate service, the fourth group shared acts of service they had committed and reflected on the meaning of service: “service means to help out and commit without expecting anything back. An example of service on Thompson Island is spotting for your group mates during low ropes.”

Finally, the group “Purple Reign,” created a colorful poster documenting the ways in which they had shown compassion to one another throughout the program. From picking up after each other, offering words of encouragement, cleaning the table at lunch, and holding one another accountable, this group truly exhibited the Outward Bound motto of “above all, compassion.”

The afternoon allowed the students time to show their families around the island, and to engage in their favorite activities. Basketballs echoed in the gym, hammocks filled with students, and families mingled at the tables by the barbecue. By the time three thirty rolled around, students and staff alike became emotional as they boarded the ferry for the very last time this summer.

Hopefully all the students will continue to reflect on the personal lessons that they learned this summer- and we’re thrilled that these same students will be back on Thompson Island with their schools this fall!

Thanks for reading, and for keeping up with Summer Connections 2018.

Laura, Communications Intern


A page of a student's field guide.
Students presented their finished field guides to their families and staff.
Students showing their field guides at the end of summer party.
Students presenting their Outward Bound Pillar to their families.
Physical Fitness Pillar presentation.
Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse!