GORP Challenges Lynn Students to Try New Things

9 May

Here is a story written by Gordon College student, Stephanie Goethner about the GORP program which NAC students attended on April 16. Be sure to check out “Our Faces” page for more pictures!

GORP Challenges Lynn Students to Try New Things

“Holy cow!” “That looks scary.” “Look how high that is, I’m not going up there.” These were some of the echoes of the New American Center students as they arrived to the ropes course one frigid, April, Saturday morning. Despite the cold, by the end of the day, the students changed to yelling words of encouragement to their friends up in the trees.

The New American Center, a coalition of seven different non-profits serving the refugee and immigrant population of Lynn, MA, spent a day in the GORP program at Gordon College’s ropes course. They were nervous coming with numerous cultural and language barriers. Through trust building and encouragement, the students were able to challenge themselves and have a great time in the process.

“The students were expecting a cold, boring day in the woods with no iPods or Internet and were terrified of being up so high,” said chaperone Farah Ahmad. “But after explaining the amount of support one climber needs on the ground in order to succeed in the air, they decided to try it. Now, they are more confident to challenge themselves and to try new things.”

GORP stands for the “Gordon Outdoor Recreation Project” and designs challenge course experiences and adventure learning opportunities for youth and young adult programs. Through games, goal-setting, trust-building, initiatives and low-ropes course, high ropes course, and debriefing and reflection, GORP encourages team building and challenge by choice.

“GORP gives individuals a task that can only be completed by working together,” said Matt Dischinger, small group leader for GORP. “Being confronted by a daunting challenge forces people to look past the self and rely on others. It was a great day with the New American Center. They came with an open mind, ready to have fun and learn.”

GORP is an affiliate program of the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education at Gordon College, Wenham, MA. For 40 years, the La Vida Center has offered quality programs for churches, schools, businesses, and youth organizations in New England and beyond. These unique programs provide experiential education and adventure learning to foster character formation and leadership development to prepare youth for life.

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