Freshman Retreat to Minakami

For this year, freshman traveled to Minakami, Gunma, to experience nature alongside adventure company: Canyons. A rotation of four different activities (team building, hiking, rafting, and canyoning), grade nine experienced three days of absolute exhilaration.

The freshmen hiked to a local park for team building, which involved a number of minigames. These included memory tiles, team jump-rope, and movie imitations. With many groups struggling with tasks, Canyons guide, Chris, was more than welcome to help teams. Declaring, “Plan, delegate, and reflect.” Chris’s leadership helped participants understand the power of leadership and the effect of a effective team.
Within the heart of nature, Ninth Grade hiked Mt. Tanigawa. Within the two-hour hike, students followed the flowing creek within forests, and eventually took photos near a vantage point, overlooking a waterfall. Few students also drank from the river and were also able to interact with local Japanese students.

White-water rafting was full of jumps and clashes. Departing from a local beach, the tour kicked off with a five-metre cliff jump. Afterwards assigned to rafts of six, boats needed to coordinate strokes, as well as listen closely to their instructor. Veering over uneven rock, none capsized, but all went swimming in the mighty Tone River.

The most anticipated activity of the trip, canyoning was often bewildering. Freshmen  struggled float, the twenty-metre drop quickly approached. The only unavoidable part of the tour, each person was lowered to halfway down the fall, and released to a creek underneath. Taken photos at every point, participants will surely remember their unforgettable journey.

Additionally, students collectively received high school orientation, as well as afternoon gym. The students were allowed to free-roam after activities, though slept in assigned groups. Students watched movie, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before during the second night, and played board games during the first. Moreover, baths were provided every night. Also, students ate Japanese-style for dinners, while lunches were Western, when mornings were buffets.

Conclusively, with no one hurt, dead, or maimed, the trip has been a rewarding experience for all. In the beautiful countryside of Gunma, bolstering ties while improving physical strength, nobody could have asked for much better.

We lastly would like to thank teachers, Ms. Odate, Mr. Dogra, Ms. Conrad, Mr. Reid, Ms. Moran, Mr. Kratz, and (especially) Mr. McGuire for volunteering for this trip. We hope that they had fun alongside us.


Article by Christopher J. Kirch