Friday, June 26, 2009

What, Two Weeks Over Already???

As you know, we are now halfway through the 12th Bridges to a Brighter Future summer program! It has been an exceptional two weeks, with lots of exciting things happening in every aspect of the program.

In the classroom, the students have learned about everything from how dancing relates to math, debating hot topics without speaking, learning about natural disasters, and writing in fun and engaging ways.

We've already been on two field trips. Wednesday, the older students got the opportunity to tour USC. Afterwards, the girls went to Columbia College while the guys toured the football and baseball stadiums at USC. The Nus visited St. Francis and United Way, and were treated to Spill the Beans after Larkins!

Highlights of the program during the last two weeks include the kickball tournament, pool party at the President's House, Career Night, and Bowling.

We can't wait for the students to return Sunday! Many more exciting things are planned; another field trip, the Fourth of July celebration, and the end of the year trip, which is still a surprise! Hope everyone catches up on sleep :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

What a Weekend!

The first weekend at Bridges was a blast! The weekend began Friday night with the kickball tournament, which was really fun, really hot, and extremely humid. Later, the students had movie night in Burgess Theatre, where they watched Transformers and had the "real feel" of a live movie theater, with popcorn, soda, candy, etc.

On Saturday, everyone got up early, had breakfast on the hall, and divided up for the different activities planned. The Lambdas and Mus split up into four different groups, and left campus to complete community service. This year, the organizations that Bridges students volunteered for were: Safe Harbor, Diligent Hands Gracious Hearts, North Greenville Food Ministry, and Stephen's House. The students spent a good portion of the day giving their time in order to help others.

The Nus, though, stayed on campus and went through the Furman Ropes Course--which every first year class goes through. The day began with icebreakers and teambuilding activities. After lunch, the students began the high ropes course. Their were three different options for the students, and most completed all three. The most appealing, the tight rope shuffle, was quick and fairly simple. The most nerve racking, the paper pole, had everyone holding their breaths. The students worked together well and cheered each other on in order to show their support. Each learned something new about himself/herself.

Saturday night was bowling at the Wade Hampton alley. Everyone had lots of fun and many strikes and spares were made. Saturday was a very eventful and enjoyable day!

On Sunday, the students were given the chance to sleep in a little before parent visitations began. Most students left campus with their families to eat out and pick up essentials for the next three weeks. After the students returned, everyone shuttled over to the President's House, for the annual pool party. The day ended in the parlors with a game/movie night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

This past Wednesday was field-trip day! The two older classes, Lambdas and Mus, split up for their first college tour, with half visiting the Greenville Technical College campus and the rest staying at Furman, touring the dorms and buildings and getting insight from faculty and staff. The students met for lunch and then headed off to Anderson University.

The Nus, on the other hand, spent the day in downtown Greenville, learning the history and completing a scavenger hunt. Mr. Grills, art teacher in the program, lead a tour at the Upcountry History museum. Also, the Nus toured the Greenville Drive stadium and were able to walk on the field. The students really enjoyed the day, a big favorite being lunch at Mellow Mushroom.

All of the kids arrived back on campus in time for dinner. They then had a little relaxation time before Evening Activities. Another long and exciting day down, many more to go!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Off to a Great Start!

The Bridges students checked-in Saturday, with the two older classes (Lambdas and Mus) arriving between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., and the Nu class all getting moved in exceptionally early and on time!

The Lambdas and Mus left before meeting the new students; they headed off to the Leadership retreat at the YMCA Camp Greenville location near the North Carolina border. The students hiked their way to camping grounds and went through many icebreakers and team building routines--a Bridges tradition.

As the older classes were heading off, the Nus started pouring in, and were enthusiastic about the four weeks ahead of them. The Nus had a while to get settled in before they headed off to their own set of icebreakers and team building routines with Justin Boudreau, an acclaimed author and motivational speaker.

Upon the return of the Lambdas and Mus Sunday evening, they joined the Nus, spending Monday with Mr. Boudreau. Now you may think that 3 days with one person can be a little dry, but not with this guy. Each student really enjoyed the different activities that Mr. Boudreau planned for the program.

After a day inside with Justin Boudreau, the classes went out to E-field for a few more icebreakers to get to know one another. The event ended with a massive square dancing routine that the Lambdas and Mus learned on their retreat and taught to everyone else.

Tuesday was the first day of classes. The students spent 50 minutes in each class: Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, and English. This year, the Bridges program welcomes a couple of new teachers: Ms. Jada Kidd and Cara Mathis (English), and Mr. Bobby Black (Social Studies).
After classes, the students attend electives of their choice, which include Pottery, Men of Honor, Ladies of Distinction, Forensics, Theater, Documentary Film Making, and Music and Video Production.
In the evenings, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the students continue with activities of their choice, participating in several different electives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bridges 2009

The Bridges to a Brighter Future 2009 summer program began just a few days ago for the students, but Bridges staff and counselors have been on campus a little longer...

On Sunday, June 7th, the counselors checked in, excited to meet the newbies and eager to find out what was in store with training and meeting new students. Needless to say, little sleep was gotten (if any at all) during that first night. But hey, they were just preparing their bodies for the next few weeks of late nights and early mornings.

Counselor training started at 5 o'clock Monday morning, with everyone loading up and heading out to Charleston for sea kayaking. The counselors were gone for a day and a half, and when they returned each had enough bug bites to play connect the dots (at least 3 games worth)...guess the Off! didn't affect the bugs this year.

Training continued throughout the week with CPR certification, conflict resolution, etc., etc., etc. With check-in getting closer and closer, the counselors and Mrs. Swartz were getting more and more eager to see the students, and rushing to get the last minute details done. The residence halls were coming together amazingly, with each based on a different television station--From ESPN to GSN, and then Discovery Channel to time for commercial breaks in between.

With just a few hours left before the students arrived, everyone decided to get at least a few minutes of sleep for the weeks ahead.