Students earn right to go on adventures

Alyssa Suchy, Reporter

A few times a year students enrolled in Big Spring’s emotional support program get to go on special trips with their teachers. These trips aren’t your typical field trip. Students are doing the unimaginable, and activities range from biking to whitewater rafting . 

The most recent trip the students went on was a trip to a creek by Yellow Breeches to learn how to canoe on Sept 26. Their next trip is taking place on Oct 10, and they are going rock climbing at Michaux State Forest. These trips are all organized by Cecilia Warthin, an emotional support teacher, here at Big Spring, and Ryan Shipp, a program coordinator at Yellow Breeches. The students have to earn the right to go on these trips based off of an Adventure Based Learning System which uses the points students earn to qualify for the trips. Students need to have a certain amount of points or be on a certain level to go on these trips, and the level requirement for most trips is a level 4. There is however a level 5 and if students are at a level 5, then they get to go on big trips to do extravagant things such as overnight whitewater rafting in Ohiopyle Pa, YBEC Indian River Outpost Trip which includes fishing, surfing and a beach trip in Rehoboth Delaware or, even Mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails in Raystown Pa.

These trips are to get the students to experience things they normally never would and for the students to learn life skills as well . Warthin said, “ I think this will impact their lives, even if it isn’t a skill they pick up they will gain respect for others.” There are 2 trips a month and the students are offered to go on them. They are different from school trips because they are meant for adventure and experiences. The students cannot be failing 2 or more classes, or they will not be qualified to go on the trip. Since Adventure Trips have become a part of Big Spring , Warthin said “I have seen the kids motivated to do well and seen them get excited for the trips.” They were incorporated so they would get different experiences.

These trips have been a part of Big Spring for 13 plus years now. 17 years ago here at Big Spring, emotional support students were in contained classes which meant they stayed in one room all day and learned different subjects throughout the day. This changed 13 years ago to having a flexible schedule for the students so they got the typical high school experience. Along with getting the typical high school experience around this same time is when Emotional Support started their first Adventure Trip program through the YMCA in Carlisle. Up until about 5 years ago this program was run through the YMCA. Around 5 years ago the Emotional Support staff decided to change to the program ran through Yellow Breeches to get a wider range of experiences for the kid. The idea to connect with Yellow Breeches came from the fact that emotional support students were getting sent to Yellow Breeches and they wanted to slowly get the kids back to Big Spring but through a slow transition process; the trips helped with this transition by allowing the students to get to know the teachers here at Big Spring better and by getting more comfortable with them, and to know they had someone here for them at Big Spring.