This summer twelve college students and two instructors journeyed into the mountains of North Carolina for four days. Emily Rosage, Junior Elementary Education major was one of the dozen students from around the state to participate in the enriching activity sponsored by the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.
The program involves a specialized series of classes and other activities that students participate in to further enrich their future teaching career. They attend teaching conferences and seminars, travel to diversity rich areas, and complete a variety of activities that challenge them to think beyond the classroom.
Emily’s challenge of the summer was a four day camping and hiking adventure ran by North Carolina Outward Bound in the Linville Mountains.
Day 1 of the hiking excursion was a crash course in survival. The campers divvied up their dried food which included hummus, trail mix, and oatmeal. They then reviewed navigation techniques and learned proper hygiene for the woods, such as not wearing deodorant because the scent attracted bears, and using a rag if they had to relieve themselves.
After learning the essentials the campers were ready to continue their journey into what Emily believes was the most difficult day of the expedition.
“It was the day from Hell,” Emily said. “We hiked up hill and it took us all day just to hike up four miles. My back-pack was literally half my body weight too.”
The campers had to avoid falling over trees and logs during the hike, when it began to rain.
The end of their hike, though, ended up paying off, when at the top of Table Rock Mountain, they could see the view.
“It was all worth it because the view was amazing,” said Emily.
Rock climbing and propelling down the side of Table Rock kicked off the start of day three. The Fellows then all went off on a solo reflection challenge where each student spent time alone in a certain section of the forest. They were asked to complete specific writing prompts in their journals while off alone. Emily described her reflection time as “lonely”.
“I was alone in the woods, it was getting dark, and it was raining,” said Emily. She spent her reflection time curled in a ball with her rain-jacket on, protecting her journal from the forces of nature.
That night they traveled to their last campsite where the campers placed their sleeping bags on a tarp and made a makeshift tent out of a second tarp. Needless to say, the campers were not protected from the elements and a large spider rain across Emily’s face. They were truly being acquainted with nature.
The focus of the trip changed from a team building expedition to an all-day solo challenge on the last day of the journey. They strived to gain confidence with themselves and tested their abilities on their last expedition. Emily completed her 4.2 mile run as the first girl finished, proving to herself that she completed the course to the best of her ability.
The entire Teaching Fellows outing was a test of physical, emotional and mental endurance, as the future teachers strived to complete each task.
Emily describes her trip into the woods as “eye opening,” and let’s hope that her, and the other Teaching Fellows, can open the eyes of a wide array of students just like their eyes were opened.
Written by: Jessica Carter