Each year, YISS middle school students participate in the Week Without Walls program, which is designed to let students have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning. Students and teachers leave campus to participate in activities designed to promote character and leadership development, as well as outdoor and service learning.
On Wednesday morning, everyone departed for a retreat center at Daecheon Beach, the location for the remainder of the trip. The activities on Wednesday were centered on stewardship. Students learned and thought about the number of energy sources they rely on daily. During this trip, all students also had the opportunity to be stewards of the group’s resources by helping with the chores of cooking and cleaning after meals. For most, these opportunities were unexpected highlights. One student, Jimin H., even said, “I used to think cleaning was disgusting, and now I think it’s fun!”
Thursday was filled with activities including playing an interactive economics and trading game, writing and acting out skits, and scouring Daecheon Beach’s tide pools for shrimp, fish, and crabs. When activities were not scheduled, students spent free time strengthening new and existing friendships by playing board games, basketball, volleyball, and in the tide pools.
Daily journaling times were built into the trip to encourage students to reflect on their experiences. Sylvie L.’s reflection on the week was one that captured the thoughts and feelings of many: “Week Without Walls was fun and educational. It taught me several lessons, such as group work and independent work. I think it helped me be more independent and grow!”