High 5 has been very successful at building long term relationships and providing ongoing programming for local youth year after year.
Our programs in Hinsdale are an example of providing a variety of services to create a comprehensive program that permeates through the entire school community.
Components of this program include:
- Classroom adventure. Our facilitators work in the classrooms to incorporate adventure learning theory and style into traditional classroom curricula, working directly with students as well as mentoring teachers to use these methods in an ongoing and permanent way.
- Student Leadership Program. High school students are taught how to facilitate adventure games and activities. Participants of this program go on to facilitate community building activities to students in the elementary school.
- Challenge course experiences. Every high school student is given the opportunity to spend several teambuilding days on High 5's challenge course.
- Summer Institute. This week-long summer "camp" prepares students to become peer leaders for the following school year, nurturing skills in those students who have started emerging as leaders. Students build on the skills learned in the Student Leadership Program and also develop important technical safety skills that are essential to facilitating on the challenge course and other adventure activities.
Teachers and parents reported that students involved in these High 5 programs demonstrated significant changes, including:
- Improved sense of community and "school spirit"
- Increased positive self image/perception
- Increased sense of responsibility and caring for others
- Improve planning and organizational skills
- Improved communication and public speaking skills.
"These kids used to separate into small groups and isolate themselves. Now they are more accepting of kids that were not part of the 'in group'.
"Students are definitely beginning to problem solve better and especially listen to each other during the process. They are accepting more responsibility for each other."
"My son stood taller when he got off the bus from the High 5 field trip."
"My husband is taking our son to a concert he has wanted to go to as a reward for his work as a peer mentor with the younger kids at school. We are so pleased at the way he has come out of his shell and stepped up as a leader."
Following are excerpts from letters written by graduating students to their peers and our staff:
"I have really enjoyed my High 5 experiences. I believe that if we hadn't been given the chance for such a great opportunity we'd all still be as prickly as cacti. I loved every minute of our time working together and will NEVER forget what we went through and shared. Thank you so much Jen for all the hard work you have done with and for us through the years. I can't even express my gratitude, my heart seems full to burst with pride at what you helped us accomplish."
"I chose the Peace symbol because it never feels like we have a time to sit and have a good time without the drama of high school or the pressures of life. High 5 was a place of peace for me where everyone got together to have a good time and a "bonding" experience. I will never forget all the good times we had at High 5, how much each of us has grown."
"I chose the old fashioned key. I chose this because I feel that throughout our stint at high 5 has unlocked my potential to learn, trust, and grow in ways that I never knew/imagined could ever happen. I feel that we have become closer and closer as a group. I am grateful for the challenge provided to me by all of you and the ropes course. I will take this knowledge with me through my journey through life."
"I chose the life saver. I picked it because I believe High 5 has sort of been this life saver for me. In middle school I wasn't sure where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do...who does? High 5 has opened my eyes and I have been able to figure out my life. I also feel that at the ropes course when you are challenged to step outside of your comfort zone, you need to feel support and know that other people are there and you can trust then "with your life." I have loved all my experiences at High 5 and I will definitely use what I have learned at High 5 in my life. Graduation is scary but I am still excited for what lies ahead. I will always hold my High 5 memories close and I will NEVER forget them. Jen, thank you so much for all you have done for me, my class and all of Hinsdale! You truly are amazing and you have taught me so much. There isn't a day when I don't think of High 5 and what I learn when I'm there. Who knows? I may even think of transferring to UNH and trying out the Recreational Therapy degree."
"Hey everyone! I chose the graduation cap, to symbolize our graduation from High 5. I have had a great time at High 5 over the past 5 years and I am really going to miss it!! I have learned how to communicate and work so much better with my peers. I will never forget the memories I gained at High 5 and I hope that none of you forget our great times."