Adventure Education students host local police, fire, rescue departments

Posted: November, 1, 2016 - 7:24am

Adventure Education students host local police, fire, rescue departments

Lakes hosted the Lake Villa and Lindenhurst Police, Fire, and Rescue departments for an introduction and inservice on District 117 and Lake Villa Township’s shared challenge course at Peacock Camp on Saturday, October 29. Along with the three representatives from Lake Villa Township, we also had 18 Adventure Education students come out and lead the officers through the course. After an orientation about equipment and safety, the officers were able to utilize the climbing wall, all the while being belayed, instructed, and led by Lakes students. 

View more photos on the Lakes Facebook page.

After the officers became comfortable at height, they moved onto the Pamper Pole. They all had a chance to climb up and take the leap of faith. Some were more willing than others, but with the support they received from students and the playful berating they got from their fellow officers, eventually all of them successfully made the jump. 

After lunch we did a tour of Peacock Camp, and as a group they did about half of the low elements. We talked about how these tools could be utilized within their departments to achieve different outcomes. 

On to the high ropes portion: All of the officers got suited back up and, with the help of the students, had a quick orientation before successfully completing the entire course. Some parts were easier than others for the officers, but it was a welcomed challenge. 

We finished up with an explanation and demonstration of our rescues — perhaps the most beneficial part on our end, because members of the Lake Villa/Lindenhurst and the Lake County rescue teams were present. It was great to get some feedback and hear how they would approach different situations if they were to arise. The group concluded that if a problem did arise, our methods and training would be just as efficient as theirs. They added that the rescues, although adequate, would have to be done by someone who is competent and effective at doing so. 

All in all, it was a great day. The experience was a valuable one for our students, and it was inspiring to see them take hold of the content and demonstrate amazing leadership skills. They captured our school’s motto of “Live. Learn. Lead.” When the officers were concluding the day, they shared many positive comments and plans for the future:

- The Lake Villa and Lindenhurst Rescue Teams and the Lake County Rescue Team will be using our course for their continuing education and training this spring.
- The police departments would like to set up multiple times when they could come out to the course and use it for team building.
- A few police officers showed interest in becoming trained as facilitators of the course, so they could use it as a tool to bridge and build a connection with the community.
- Said by a fireman: “I can’t believe I put my life in a 17-year-old’s hands. What a crazy experience.”
- Said by a police officer: “It’s fun to watch these kids be all goofy and silly, but when the time came and one of us was hooked into their system, or had to rely on them, they flipped a switch and were all business.”
- Said by a police officer: “Thanks for putting all of this together. We didn’t know the students would be the ones bringing us through the course, but what a powerful experience. So often we are the ones who are looked at as the bad guys and we are pulling them over or busting them, but today the roles were reversed, and to see these kids leading us was pretty awesome. What a great connection.”

— Story and photos by Adventure Education teacher Mike Gedville

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