Southport’s 6th grade students enjoyed an engaging, positive, and busy day at our first annual Student Retreat. Students participated in several activities and games throughout the day, as well as small group discussions where they learned about each other’s likes and dislikes. In addition to writing motivational letters to themselves (which will be given back to them during the school year), they received Palanca letters, which are letters of encouragement from teachers, staff, and family members. Three speakers from the community–Pastor and HS Football Coach Terry Ingrim, Motivational Speaker Heidi Monsour, and Port St. Lucie Mayor Greg Oravec—gave inspirational speeches about important topics such as respect, self-esteem, and bullying.
Students were split into small groups with adult team leaders and participated in various team building activities. The activities included games such as Blindfold, where students were blindfolded and verbally guided through an obstacle course by their peers. In Building Bridges, students held PVC pipes at the waist to make a bridge for their team member to walk across. The students had to continue to build the bridge in front of the person walking across it without letting them fall. At the end of the day students were asked to team up to create and perform a skit pertaining to bullying. All students participated and each group put on a great performance.
Those students with permission to stay after school enjoyed a pizza dinner and participated in a “walk” through the day in a life of a middle school student. They were blindfolded and led by an adult around campus through three zones: teachers/parents, bullies, and Southport support, where their blindfolds were removed and students were greeted with encouragement, positivity, love, and happiness. Students talked and reflected on the experience afterwards. Later on in the evening they enjoyed a movie and popcorn together. The Retreat was a wonderful opportunity for all students and facilitators to build long lasting relationships with each other.