CHS Students Adventure to the Challenge Course

On February 27, 2012, Mr. Ricci’s Algebra 2 class was in session at Chardon High School. Shots and screams echoed through the classroom. The loudspeaker blared throughout the school announcing the school was in lockdown. Unfortunately, this was not a drill. However, Chardon High School students, staff, and faculty were prepared for emergency situations. The classroom quickly moved to action, taking their appropriate places. It was evident something was wrong right outside of the classroom. Mr. Ricci also acted fast, pulling a student inside the classroom to safety.

Ropes Course This emotional experience took a huge toll on the lives of everyone, including those in this classroom. With the help of the Chardon Healing Fund, Mr. Ricci’s class is continuing to heal. The fund contributed dollars for the entire class of 29 students and 6 staff members to visit Camp Asbury and experience their challenge course that is built to enhance leadership and teambuilding skills through a fun low ropes course. The participants experienced several different “low ropes” challenges including the Swinging Log, Team Traverse, Mohawk Walk, and others. These exciting courses challenged the students to enhance teamwork, trust, and leadership skills. One challenge in particular, The Mohawk Walk, is a series of foot cables strung between trees, in a zigzag pattern. The objective is to get the entire group of 29 students and 6 staff members from the first tree to the last without touching the ground and without the aid of foreign objects (sticks, rope, etc). This group of amazing students and staff completed the course in true Chardon High School fashion – One Heartbeat!

Chardon Student Drawing Heart
Chardon Student Drawing Heart

When asked to provide their feedback on the experience, students responded with positive and warm emotions stating, “I thought it was a great idea because we really are a close-knit family now and really being together today helped us be here for each other and connect in a different way.”

The students were also taught about the “normal reactions” to trauma. Learning new ways to cope with experiences in their lives was a good way to educate them for whatever may come their way later on in life. The experience included time for relaxation and art therapy activities. The relaxation segment focused on how to relax the body from head to toe, deep breathing exercises, and meditation. Many expressed themselves using art as opposed to traditional verbal methods. Therefore, drawing what was close to their hearts was able to teach the students and staff a new way of coping and to place a strong focus on those things that give them strength in their lives.

Chardon Students Enjoying Time Together
Chardon Students Enjoying Time Together

It let us connect as a group in an environment where it was just us, and we came together in activities that helped me learn and become closer to each individual.”
A student responded

All group members were given t-shirts and, with the new school year just around the corner, these students need to know that the bond they shared on this day will stay with them. Many of them may not be in the same class again, and with these t-shirts, they will be able to roam the halls of Chardon High School and see their peers in the same shirt and know that they have a special connection.

“The Chardon Healing Fund is honored to help play a role in the healing of this community, but we know that we would not be able to do so without the many generous gifts that have been entrusted to our care. We thank every donor, no matter the amount of their gift, their support is making an impact,” stated Jenniffer Deckard, Chair, Chardon Healing Fund board and President, Fairmount Minerals.

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Kimm Leininger
Author: Kimm Leininger

Kimm Leininger has served as the Executive Director of United Way Services of Geauga County since 2003. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Director of WomenSafe for five years and as a hospital social worker for three years. Kimm has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University and a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University. She is also an alumnus of Leadership Geauga County, 2002. Kimm currently serves on the boards of the Geauga County P-16 Initiative, Northeast Ohio Regional P-16 Council, Chardon Healing Fund and Chardon Rotary Club. Kimm lives in Geauga County with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, as well as coaching her children in various sporting activities.