Peer Leaders Experience the Beauty of Nature and Teamwork


HHS Peer Leaders

Peer Leaders has been a club here at Hawthorne High School for over fifteen years.  Peer Leaders is a club that allows high school students to take leadership roles in the community, as well as showing the future generations about the right in the world, instead of going down the wrong paths in life. To become stronger leaders, students went to Fairview YMCA camp in Newton, New Jersey for team bonding skills and a challenging hike.

The Peer Leader students consisted of HHS sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The students came mentally prepared for the hike ahead of them in the morning.  Before the exhilarating hike, each student was provided with breakfast while bonding with the other peer leaders. On this hike, the group learned a lot of information about nature, as well as themselves personally.

Once the group reached the top of the mountain, they expressed some struggles or challenges they went through or are currently going through and how they plan to overcome them while enjoying the true beauty of nature. One of the problems that was mentioned while approaching the top of the mountain was the acceptance process for college, a process that almost every high school student has to go through to achieve their dream.  

These conversations were really eye opening to others because students were able to see that they are not the only people with the same problems. Most importantly, students were separated from social media and the internet for the whole trip which brought about the topic of actual person to person conversations.

The next event of the day was to work as a team when obstacles come into our lives.  For these exercises, the students split up into two groups.  These events included aspects of trust. One of the exercises that the students had to participate in was called Charlotte’s Web, where there were multiple sticks, acting as spiders, balancing on the course of strings tied together.  Five students in the group were blindfolded and had to trust the other students to bring them through the course without making the “spiders” fall off. In addition, students were given a chance to rock-climb while each group supported and encouraged the climber.

The last activity of the day was a hands-on, survival skills exercise in the wilderness. Each  group instructor stressed the importance of each basic element of survival as common knowledge.  Each group was split into three or four smaller groups and had a challenge to build a safe, livable hut. The only supplies that the students were able to use were natural resources such as, the branches and leaves in the surrounding areas. Students were able to grasp the idea of survival very quickly.

The students had a great time, as well as Ms. Clifford and Mr. Corvo. This trip was definitely a learning experience for all, and taught the students how important it is to spend time in nature. This experience taught students how to face their fears in the most challenging situations. Also, the team-building activities were very helpful as students were able to interact with others as well as nature itself. Hawthorne High School had an incredible time at the Fairview Lakes YMCA, and they are all looking forward to the next time!