By: Gus Caiola
The annual Freshmen Outward Bound trip is going through some extreme changes over the next year. The expedition started in fall 2015 as an attempt for the whole freshmen class to bond before beginning high school. The rising fresh- men departed from Gilman about a week before the school year started and spent five days on the Appalachian Trail. Next year, however, they will not be going at the end of summer. Instead, they will embark on the adventure at the end of the year when final exams are over. Freshmen will take exams early, and the trip will happen while sophomores and juniors take their exams. Accompanying them will no longer be seniors, but rather juniors (rising seniors) who will also be taking their exams early. The trip’s length and physical activities will be very similar, but contents discussed will be very different. There will also be a sophomore year follow up regarding the trip because students will not have freshman fifth to debrief the experience. Initially, the goal of the trip was to start off the freshmen’s high school experience on a high note and make new students feel more comfortable. Over the trip’s first two years, it became apparent that the time of the trip was a high stress time for many students. There were also family conflicts that interfered with the trip, making it hard to get all the incoming freshmen to Outward Bound for five days. Furthermore, students who attended the trip missed part of summer vacation. This was a downside to the trip and acted as an incentive for kids to find an excuse not to attend. When asked about his experience on the trip, freshman Michael Mallas remarked, “I thought it was an okay time, but it could’ve been better.” Moving it to the end of the school year makes it so that there will be no conflicts, and students will not miss any summer vacation.
Mr. John Schmick, Gilman liaison to Outward Bound, hopes this trip will be an experience where boys are challenged and pushed beyond what they think they are capable of. His hope is that they meet the challenges through perseverance, determination and the support of their peers in their crew. He believes that moving the trip to the end of the year will both give an opportunity to bring freshmen teachers on the trip and bring them and students closer together to strengthen bonds created during the school year.