Greetings from Lake Placid

Melissa Stagnaro

Well, I made it to Lake Placid, thanks to the help of my trusty GPS. It was so efficient, in fact, that I beat the bus. So right now, I’m spending some quality time in the lobby at the Swiss Acres Inn, the hotel we’ll be staying at tonight.

I thought I’d have a quick look at the schedule while I wait, just so I know what to expect. It looks like today we’ll be laying the groundwork for the rest of the trip. Once everyone gets here and settles in, we’ll eat a quick dinner (outside—it’s gorgeous!) and then get right to work. We’ll be going over the Full Value Contract all the kids had to agree to, talking about values and doing some goal setting. Then there will be some trust activities before we all get a little bit of “solo” time to reflect. Tonight, the focus during this solo time will be reflecting on the Norwich High school.

The outlines for each activity, as well as the schedule, are in a bound leadership log each student received before the trip. It’s become kind of a bible for me already.

At some point I’m sure we’ll do an icebreaker or two, they are usually par for the course at any kind of retreat. I love it, because people always reveal such random things about themselves.  

After all of that, if we’re lucky, we’ll have a little time to socialize with one another over mini golf. (I’m definitely looking forward to that. I need a little work on my putting.) Then it will be time for the evening wrap up and off to bed.

Tomorrow will be a full day. We’ll be up by 7:30 a.m. (which, considering I’m usually up around 4:30 a.m., will be sleeping in for me) and start off with a morning session to plan for the day. Participants will be given their team assignments for their day, and we’ll review the goals we’ve set. Then we’ll head to the various Olympic venues around Lake Placid. We’ll do a biathlon competition as well as luge and bobsled. And that’s just before lunch!

The afternoon will be even more physically challenging. We’ll start off by hiking to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, stopping at different points along the way to compete in different Project Adventure activities. Once we get to the top (on the schedule the hike looks like it will take about 3 ½ hours), we’ve got to find our way back down. This time we’ll make the EIGHT MILE trip on mountain bikes. Thankfully, it’s downhill.

After all of that, I’m sure I’ll be ready for a nap, but no such luck. Once we get settled into our new accommodations at Rock & River in Keene, we’ll be treated to a talk by Olympic Gold Medalist Jeff Blatnick focusing on competing through adversity.

We’ll spend the next couple of hours in another group session, debriefing from all the day’s activities and having our evening talk. After that, we’ll spend some quality time around the camp fire (weather permitting) before hitting the hay. I’m sure I’ll be wiped out, I don’t know about everyone else.

Well, it’s time for me to check into my room. I’ll check back in with you later.