Throughout the academic year, Trinity's Bobcat Learning Center offers students at Jason Lee Middle school academic support and enrichment activities. During spring break, our staff turn their attention to community building and having fun with the students in their program. Read on to hear from Laura Johnson, LC Staff, as she shares what the experience means to her.
As April rolled around this year, there were two things that I was looking forward to: the possibility of sunshine and Trinity Outreach’s annual Spring Break Adventures with the middle school students at Jason Lee. When school is out every year, we prepare a few days of fun activities, team building challenges, exciting outings, and community service for our students. After a few busy (and often gloomy) months, our Spring Break Adventures is an opportunity for students and staff to take a break, have some fun, and reconnect.
This year was full of special activities that included watching Black Panther, grabbing food at Five Guys, playing Laser Tag at Odyssey 1, and undertaking the equal parts disgusting and fun Bean Boozled challenge. However, I was most excited for the return of an activity that we did last year. Inspired by such cooking shows as Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, Daniel and I created the Bobcat Cooking Challenge: two teams, two kitchens, $1000 Bobcat Bucks, five mystery ingredients, and two mystery recipes. Before cooking students bid against each other for sabotages (like having a staff member choose the music for the entire duration) and choice of mystery ingredient. The end result was a few hours of student led fun, creativity, and laughter.
In our regular programming during the week at Jason Lee, it is easy to get bogged down by tasks; there’s always another assignment to ask about, another teacher to talk about, another binder check to do. In our work to create and atmosphere and avenues for students to succeed academically, it is easy to forget what our main goal is: building community. For me, there are a few important times in the year to take a step back, reframe, and refocus on our values, mission, and efforts after school at Jason Lee, and Spring Break is one of the most important ones. At the end of the day, it’s often the moments for having fun with our students, acting silly, and laughing together that inspire the most connection and community.
As another Spring Break Adventures came to a close, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself and how much I learned about my students. As we head into the end of the year, I am looking forward to creating more time and space for my students to connect with each other, staff members, and our community. Hopefully this time around, however, there will also be some sunshine as well.