As part of the foray into the upper school, Carrollwood Day School takes a group of students and faculty to Pathfinder Outdoor Education for three days of fun every year. They engage in challenging adventures that not only allow them to put down their devices and connect with the great outdoors, but teach them about themselves, others, and how we all work together for a common goal.
On Monday, August 23rd, 94 CDS freshmen, headed to a remote location in Parrish, Florida for a unique, hands-on, experiential program. To build community, these newly inducted upper school students spent the majority of their day outside in nature solving problems, working together, and learning how to communicate with each other. All the activities lead to a form of discovery. What type of leader are you? How do you listen to others? The students had the opportunity, without much adult interaction, to ask open-ended questions and figure out the answers for themselves.
The Pathfinders program not only gets students moving and expanding their physicality with ropes courses and tree climbing but through problem-solving and risk-taking, they learn skills to build healthy relationships and develop empathy for their classmates. This program, by design, aligns perfectly with the mission of Carrollwood Day School and therefore allows for a seamless transition into the classroom afterward with the bonds that were made beyond it.
One of the most memorable moments for some of the students is the letter they each write to themselves, intended for them to read it before graduation from their senior year. Students sit down in a quiet space by themselves and pen a letter that shares
where they are at that moment mentally and physically and allows them to set goals and intentions for their future.
The Pathfinders experiential education program is such an amazing part of the upper school curriculum. Through learning by doing and actively engaging in experiences and then reflecting on those moments, CDS students learn what it truly means to take initiative and think outside the box and how far they can go if they just use their imaginations and ingenuity.
Thank you to Pathfinder Outdoor Education for being a welcome partner in the education of our students. Additionally, thank you to the CDS faculty and staff who organize and chaperone this wonderful trip.