HSLP 2011: Day 2-Sunday, July 10

Jul 10 2011 - 9:02pm

High School Leaders Program
Day 2- Sunday, July 10
Reported by: Ross Abbott, First Colonial High School and Emily Irwin, Freeman High School

The high for today was 95 degrees, approximately the same height (in feet) that most of us reached at the peak of our activities. On our first full day at Sorensen, we went to Poplar Ridge, a rigorous ropes course and team-building program. Though not all students participated in each activity, every person benefitted in some way, and a great time was had by all.

After arriving downstairs at the early hour of 8 a.m., we embarked on a 137-mile trek to our destination. Okay, maybe it was only a 20-minute hike, but the midsummer heat made it feel like a expedition across the Sahara. Upon our arrival we immediately jumped into a series of icebreaker games including our favorite, called Tanks (think free-for-all dodgeball with blindfolds and lots of yelling). Next we split into two groups to begin our high altitude excursions.

Ross's group (half of the HSLP participants), named the “Tilapia” or “T-Laps”, started on the low ropes course, working as a team to achieve seemingly impossible goals. These goals, as well as many others throughout the day, proved to be attainable only through teamwork. Later on, his group participated in a huge swing activity (the 95-foot peak) and another team-building game that involved elbow shakes, shoe stepping and silence.

Emily's group, also known as “Beluga Fish,” played a team-building game where all 14 students had to transfer everyone from the first wooden “island” to the fourth using only three wooden planks. Then they began their first high ropes course and encouraged each other to participate, despite the common fear of heights.

We had a catered lunch from a deli-style restaurant called “The Market.” We had delicious sandwiches, chips and cookies. It was quite a refresher, serving as a break between the many activities and an opportunity to sit down. The heat exhaustion hit us as we realized that it was time to rejoin our groups for the rest of the afternoon.

For the rest of the afternoon, both Tilapia and Beluga Fish climbed high ropes courses and experienced the real meaning of harness pain. Both of us agree that each person seemed to enjoy themselves as everyone was constantly laughing, helping each other and choosing to participate. In fact many of us already feel as if we've known each other for years, and it's only the second day. Poplar Ridge was truly a memorable experience (we're sure the first of many to come) and a fantastic way to begin our Sorensen experience.

Featured Alumni

  • Vivek Kundra.jpg

    Vivek Kundra

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2007

    Vivek has served as Virginia's Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Trade and as Chief Technology Officer for Washington, D.C. He served under President Obama as the first chief information officer of the United States. Vivek is currently a visiting fellow at Harvard University.