To start every year, each class at Webb takes a 3-day retreat, the main purpose of which is to build community within the class. The freshmen retreat is particularly important since everyone in the class is new. This year, the 9th grade boys traveled to Hanna Flat campground at Big Bear Lake, where they spent some time rock climbing at Castle Rock, swimming in the lake, and hiking in the hills around the campground. They were also led in community-building exercises by several student leaders, including members of the Honor Committee, a Prefect, and an International Student Liaison. The faculty on the trip were impressed by both the inspiring leadership of the older students, and also by the behavior of the freshmen class as a whole. From their pervasive positive outlook and their overwhelming support for one another, to their ability to engage in long activities without cell phones (!) and their sense of adventure, this year's freshmen class showed an astounding cohesiveness that bodes well for the next four years.
Student leaders engage the class in a discussion of honor, character, and Webb culture.
Following their talk, the student leaders led the freshmen in team-building activities such as this one, where the freshmen had to cross an area using as few of their feet as possible.
Solutions became more and more creative as restrictions increased.
Here, the boys try to traverse the area by stepping on the feet of a few human bridges.
The rare double piggyback.
And the classic hopping double wheelbarrow.
This activity involved transferring students from one side of the web to the other without touching the strands.
In this activity, the freshmen attempt to line up in birthday order without talking and without falling off the log.
The next day, we headed to Castle Rock, where Dave from Hangar 18 instructed the students about tying in to the belay.
Jonathan was a superstar belayer, standing in the heat for several hours belaying his classmates. If climbing is about trust, consider it earned. You can see the climber high up on the rock.
Marcos navigates the crux of this 5.9 route.
When they weren't climbing, the freshmen scrambled around the area, making it to the top of Castle Rock, which afforded views down to Big Bear Lake.
That night, the whole class gathered on a perfect outcropping to process the day. We then settled in for the sunset, a time of reflection for bonds built and the year to come.