By TIFFANY MERRITT
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
In the spirit of creating a truly unique experience for our students, we created an activity called “Survival of the Fittest.” This activity was held on Friday June 3, at Bur-mil Park, following the students’ first week of the summer term. Some of our students were still recovering from jet lag after returning from China, so they decided to rest at home this Friday afternoon. Out of the 26 current students in the program, 13 were in attendance.
Upon arrival, students were put into teams of three to go on a nature scavenger hunt. Every team had an egg carton with pictures of North Carolina foliage on it. The team had to find one of each of the items and put it into the egg carton. This helped the students practice their observation skills and attention to detail to find the exact types of leaves and flowers from the pictures. After this activity, the group noshed on refreshing watermelon and drank water while Student Life Coordinator Tiffany Merritt gave a demonstration about how to build a wilderness survival kit. Students were then able to make their own survival kits as well.
With the supplies in their survival kit, as well as a tarp and emergency blankets, students then had to make emergency shelters in 20 minutes with their teammates. Each member of the team had to be able to fit inside the shelter. The shelter also had an additional test in which one of the staff member’s husband poured water over the top. If every team member stayed dry inside the shelter, their shelter passed the test! In the end, the team comprised of Zhou Dunzhi, Zhang Feitong, and Zhao Zhaoxing made the winning shelter.
Overall students enjoyed the challenges despite the heat. Luckily, we were in a shaded area of the park, and the breeze from the nearby lake provided respite from the unmerciful summer sun. To keep out students energized for the day packed with activities, we provided traditional American hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on-site, as well as a modern twist to the American s’more. For the new take on this classic American dessert, staff members Juan, Xizi, and Mary put marshmellows and chocolate inside a sugar cone, wrapped them in tin-foil, then placed them on the grill. The finished product was a delicious and mess-free way to explore this cherished American picnic food.
Besides allowing new students to meet the returning students, we wanted this event to broaden our students’ horizons. We wanted students to see more of the beautiful city of Greensboro by transporting them to the scenic area of Bur-mil park, where they can enjoy fishing, picnics, biking, running, or walking on the well-kept trails. We also wanted to exercise students’ ability to think critically in a very experiential manner while they made the survival kits, shelters, and hunted for the items from nature.