NEW BRITAIN – Local educators claim technology has impacted the interpersonal skills of students, which is why on Wednesday the New Britain YMCA hosted a group of students from Slade Middle School for a team building event.
The event featured team building activities to help students communicate better, work together on group projects and build confidence to take on leadership roles.
Christopher Godfrey, STEAM instructor at Slade Middle School organized the event in partnership with the YMCA. Godfrey is a former camp director at the YMCA and knows the benefits of team building activities.
“One of the goals of the STEAM program is to help students work in teams,” Godfrey said. “As a camp director of the Y for many years, I had opportunities in the recreational setting to put those activities together for the kids. I knew the benefits of that but then trying to do it in my classroom was a challenge so I had the idea of bringing the kids here to do team building activities in the recreational setting.”
These team building days at the YMCA will be provided to the whole school in eight trips with eight different groups of students and teachers. On Wednesday the YMCA hosted the seventh group.
“I think it’s important for the teachers to experience that as well,” Godfrey said. “The teachers are participating in the games with the kids so they get to team build with their students. The idea is to bring that experience back into the classroom.”
Godfrey and some of the YMCA staff said that they have already started hear positive feedback from teachers in terms of the students’ classroom interaction. Students have also expressed to their teachers that they have enjoyed the activities at the YMCA.
Justin Ferreira, sports director of the YMCA, organized the nine activities.
“We provided the staff,” Ferreira said. “Our staff is trained in each activity and they are not just there to be staff. They are there to explain to the kids the purpose of the station that they are at. It has been an awesome experience to have them here at the Y. It’s a place in New Britain where they can come with their families, friends and enjoy themselves.”
The activities provided were “camp-like” and they included The Web, PVC Challenge, The Human Knot, Indoor Rock Climbing, Musical Chairs, Rock, Paper, Scissors Challenge, Birdbox Basketball, Nuke ‘Em and Giant Jump Rope.
One of the games, The Web had the purpose of teaching students that they are all interconnected, that they have to work together to make sure that their rope doesn’t touch the ground or that they don’t tie it in a knot and everybody had to touch it.
“They are part of a team, whether they are at school, or whether they are in a sports team,” Marcy Moskal, branch director at the YMCA, said. “Eventually they are going to be part of a team when they get to be working in the workforce. The skills that they learn here at the YMCA, we hope they can carry through their whole life.”
“It has been a great collaboration between us and the consolidated school district of New Britain,” John Benigni, chief executive officer of the YMCA, said. “It has definitely exceeded my expectations. The interaction with the kids, the staff, the team building effect, getting involved in group settings will have a long lasting impact on this kids as they progress with the school year and even into their future grades.”
Superintendent of schools Nancy Sarra, was also present at the event and said that she’s glad to see that the school’s partnership with the YMCA is growing. Sarra added that these activities are important to help build a better student-teacher relationship.
“This allows my staff to see their students in a different way than the traditional classroom,” Sarra said. “That creates a bond. It’s also a tool to help our teachers learn how to do things in a different way to get better results.”
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org