5th Graders' Blue Ridge Assembly Experience

5th Graders' Blue Ridge Assembly Experience
Posted on 10/14/2019
Jaylee exploring an aquatic ecosystem

Oakley Elementary 5th Graders

Blue Ridge Assembly

Written by: Emma Reyes-Perez and Jaylee Monteith

 Last week, the 5th graders at Oakley Elementary went on an exciting and adventurous field trip to the Blue Ridge Assembly. Thanks to sponsorship from our PTO, this trip didn’t cost the students a single cent. While on our field trip, we completed three different activities.

The first stop was the exploration of an aquatic ecosystem. We learned how spring water and rainwater create streams that come from the top of our mountains and talked about where the water would actually end up at the end of its journey. We found a variety of organisms that were living in the mountain stream from the larvae of a dragonfly to salamanders and crawfish! Based on our investigation, we were able to determine that for the most part, the mountain stream was free from pollution.

Next, we learned about archery! After going over safety rules and the basics of how to shoot a bow and arrow, each of us had the chance to shoot actual arrows at a target!! Several of us hit the target, and a few of us even hit a bullseye! The best part about the archery station was that the bow and arrow were real. It was neat to not be treated like a little kid and to be trusted with the responsibility of using the real deal. 

After a yummy lunch with all of our friends, we made our way to the last stop of the day...a 50 FOOT TALL CLIMBING TOWER!!! Each of us harnessed up, learned about belaying and safety commands for climbing the structure, and then the challenge began! It may seem like the “challenge” was to climb the tower, but what we learned was that the challenge was much bigger than that. This task was about beginning with the end in mind, thinking win-win and synergizing. Before we even started to climb, we had to begin with the end in mind and set a goal for ourselves, a height we aimed to reach that would challenge us and stretch us, but not take us out of the safe boundaries of our comfort zone. Then, we had to be brave and realize that when it was our turn, we needed to take our chances when we had them because that chance might not come around again. At first, it was hard to trust the belay team to keep you safe as you climbed higher and higher. In the end we realized that the ONLY way to reach our goals, no matter how high they were, was to TRUST the people supporting us and holding us up along the way. These lessons are way bigger than the tower we conquered. We will carry these lessons and these memories through life with us. Next time we feel scared when facing a hurdle in life that we think we are not strong enough or brave enough to overcome, we can set a safe but powerful goal, take the chance when the opportunity presents itself and realize that we have to trust ourselves and those rooting us on when we begin the journey.