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Eighth grade students focus on preparing to catch their teammate in a net as part of the
trust fall activity.
Photos by Lisa Loveday



Originally published: 2012-11-29 09:59:17
Last modified: 2012-11-29 09:59:17

Experiential Education Program fosters learning, success

Lisa Loveday

Avery County Schools’ Experiential Education Program is a unique program providing students with opportunities to learn by doing. Summer and fall programs benefited students, ACS administrators, Avery Middle School faculty, ACHS Viking Academy staff and the Avery Middle School girls’ volleyball team. In total, EEP served more than 800 Avery County students and staff.

The summer programs focused on team building with emphasis on communication, cooperation, problem solving and teamwork. The fall program participants engaged in the Group Interaction Course for sixth grade, the Climbing Wall for seventh grade, the Alpine Tower for eighth grade and the Leap of Faith for ninth grade. 

The activities and events for each age group are designed to encourage participants to learn about their abilities and strengths, as well as the strengths and abilities of their team. 

EEP activities are optional, yet many students accept the challenges and embrace the accomplishments with feelings of pride and confidence. Individual achievements vary, but every effort is acknowledged.

EEP provides opportunities for participants to be a member of a team where working together is the key. Participants accept new challenges where they can be creative, think critically, express ideas, establish trust and support each member. EEP’s highly trained facilitators encourage each participant to attempt each activity, problem solve, fine tune communication skills, make decisions and have fun. Participants demonstrate an amazing amount of effort, leadership and determination. Of course, the goal is to encourage participants to utilize the strengths and abilities demonstrated during activities in their daily lives, their classrooms, with other groups and in their communities. 

Through evaluations following each session, EEP participants explained that they could learn to trust classmates, achieve personal goals, accomplish something that appeared impossible, lead classmates and actively listen. They also discovered that working together increases the team’s chances of success. Most participants responded that they enjoyed trying new things, finding courage and having fun during the activities. Most affirmed that what they had experienced and gained through the EEP will help them in every day life.