October 7, 2019 Christine Sealey and Jon Moore teamed up to offer a ropes course activity at the University of Vermont as a culminating activity to a summer professional development institute they led on trauma-informed practices for refugee and immigrant and students.
The idea of building a strong community was a recurring theme throughout their work and research. The UVM ropes course allowed the students to focus on the goals of helping recognize their resiliency, build teamwork skills, and focus on perseverance.
They were also able to connect the trip to their ELL Conversation Group, which included three of their native speaker partners to help encourage relationship and trust-building through various activities. The UVM facilitator led the group through a variety of activities in the morning that required communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. This prepared the students for the afternoon on the high ropes course that required a team of four people working together to help each other succeed.
Students realized that if one person did not complete their part of the task, their teammate's safety was at risk. This resulted in focused teamwork, encouraging comments, and perseverance in challenging their comfort zones.