In order to provide the 9th grade class with an unforgettable virtual retreat experience, Upper School staffulty leaders got creative—and it paid off. It’s safe to say that the Class of 2024 had a retreat experience like no class has ever had before. Even though 9th graders couldn’t be together in-person, the day was still full of laughter, unconventional challenges, and wacky community-building activities.
For their retreat, 9th graders competed in “Connectival”—an app-supported community-building quest and collaborative mission competition hosted by ALIVE Outdoors, an experiential education company based in Ontario, Canada. ALIVE stands for, “Adventure, Leadership, Individuality, Values, and Empowerment.”
Before beginning the day, Bosque 9th graders downloaded an app called “GooseChase” which they used to complete their missions with their teams. The grade was divided into teams by advisory groups, and advisors joined in on the fun. Each team had one goal: complete missions to accumulate points; the team with the most points would win Connectival.
There were many missions to complete and they covered a diverse set of topics—art, science, nature, drama, writing, innovation, and so on. In order to complete these missions, teams had to submit photos, videos, and text responses. Here are a few examples of the mission prompts:
- Share a video of you doing your best Bobcat call.
- Share a photo of you in your best Halloween costume.
- Share a photo of a food in your kitchen that was grown in New Mexico.
- Set up a homemade bowling lane and share a video of you testing it out.
- Balance a broom on your finger using just the top of the broom handle. Share a video.
- Holding a banana from the center with both hands held tightly together like a set of handlebars. Raise the banana above your head and in one swift motion bring the banana down in front of you toward your waist. Using the momentum, pull hard applying pressure to split the banana in half. Good luck. Share a video of you splitting or trying to split the banana.
- Take a selfie with a squirrel in the background. Share the photo.
- Share a video of you completing at least 4 forward hops with both feet in a pillowcase (think sack race-style).
- Draw a happy face using your foot to hold the marker. Share a photo of the end result.
- Place an egg in a spoon and share a video of you holding the egg in the spoon, balancing on one foot, and then hoping while switching the foot you're balanced on at least 6 times in a row.
- As a full team on Google Meet, dress up in as much Bosque Bobcat clothing as possible. Share a photo of your team's Google Meet screen with everyone dressed up.
- Using only forks and spoons from your cutlery drawer, create an artistic arrangement or sculpture and share a photo.
These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg—there were over 400 missions in total to choose from. Get a feel for what some of these missions looked like in this video.
The Upper School’s dean of students, Ms. Hart, said that one of the funniest missions was to try to take a selfie with a squirrel. She noted, “There was a lot of communication with the ALIVE team to decide if this was possible.” There was even debate among Bosque staffulty to see if this mission was doable. “Several students had fun trying to find one for a selfie,” exclaimed Ms. Hart. At least one student managed to take a successful selfie with a squirrel.
At the end of the day, Señor Aleixandre’s advisory group collected the most points and was announced the winner of Connectival.
Ms. Rekow, a 9th grade advisor, shared her thoughts on the day. "Friday's 9th grade virtual retreat was uplifting.” She continued, “It was a wonderful way to begin the students' high school adventure. The activities were engaging, well thought-out, and conducive for working cooperatively as well as for developing life skills. I was delighted to see my advisees’ great personality traits in action. Regardless of the virtual format, the event brought the 9th graders together and launched them effectively into their high school experience.”
Ms. Hart was happy to hear that 9th graders felt they got to know their advisors through these activities. She also got feedback from students that they were surprised that they could work together so collaboratively in a virtual environment.
Way to go, Class of 2024!