For fall trips this year, I went to Wakasawan along with other middle school stduents ranging from 6th grade to 8th grade. Through lots of fun activities including cutting (boating), marine activities, hiking and raft building, we worked on team-building and cooperation. Building and rowing on the raft was definitely the highlight of the trip. It was my very first time and it was nothing like I expected. The activity was done in attendance groups and we allocated the tasks such as carrying the logs, figuring out the structure of the raft, tieing the logs etc.. I was mainly responsible for carrying the logs. When I went up the slope to get the logs, a pair were trying to get a log. As soon as they lifted it, about a hundred cockroaches came scurrying out at once and I couldn’t help but let out a ear-piercing scream as it was a gut-wrenching sight! Everyone started screaming and cry-laughing at the same time! Carring the logs was the most horrendous task. I was determined to set an example and carry the logs without complaining but it was so hard to resist dropping the log as cockroaches and bugs were peeking out of the cracks in the wood and you did not know when they would come out. As not everyone was willing to do the task, I had to take leadership as an 8th grader and motivate/ tell the others to be brave and actually carry the logs instead of just standing around and making the others do the task of carrying the logs.
Figuring out the structure of the raft on our own was challenging at first as the only guidance we got was a small model of the raft. With the assistance of Mr. Andrews, our supervisor, we were able to figure out where to tie the ropes etc.. The ropes we were given were either too short or unravelled and tying the logs together was very time-consuming. We also had to pull very hard on the ropes and tie to ensure that the logs don’t fall apart or water doesn’t seep in and it was very tiring.
However, rowing on the raft was a very exhilerating and fun experience expect for the part where everyone was screaming and jumping off the raft when a centipede and cockroaches were crawling on the raft, as I was panicking. The weather and view was very good and we were able to balance out the weight so as not to tilt the raft too much although I was the only one in my group that did not fall off the raft at the end. I felt that along with having fun, we really learn to cooperate and work together as a team to get a task done.
The talent show was also a very memorable experience as I became closer with a lot of classmates through planning and practicing for the talent show together. My group sang a mashup of songs in acapella and considering the time we were given, I think we did pretty well and I had a phenomenal time working with the others to create a mashup.
We were also able to experience a big of Japanese culture as we did Japanese radio exercise every morning. It felt very good sleeping early because of the day’s exhausting activities and waking up early to exercise outside where the view was splendid.
Throughout the trip, I exemplified an open-minded risk-taker by accepting and incorportaing different strategies/ ideas from other people in my group when I was building the raft although some ideas were in conflict by analyzing the ideas and deciding. I also carried the logs without complaining even though I detest cockroaches learned to deal with my fear. The trip was very enjoyable and I had a wonderful time at Wakasawan.