Many schools now have students going on overnight field trips. My school takes fifth- and sixth-graders to Frost Valley and seventh- and eighth-graders to Greenkill. These are rustic YMCA camps in upstate New York. I have been to both of them. We do these trips at the beginning of the school year so we can get to know everyone and build closer bonds.

At both locations, there are many team-building activities. Some of the activities that we do at Frost Valley include low rope courses, where we have to work as a team to get a person to a goal, and the giant swing, where some kids overcome their fear of heights. We also take a day hike to a waterfall and stop to appreciate nature. In Greenkill, there are also team-building activities, but the things that we do there are harder and higher. We also have to trust our friends more, because sometimes they are the ones who pull the ropes that hold you up.

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For some kids, there can be negative feelings associated with overnight field trips. One of my classmates, who was new to the school, went on this trip but had some problems with leaving her parents and her home. The first night was hard for her because it was the first time she slept away from home . . . ever! The second night was even harder for her, but all the girls came into her room with mattresses and slept with her to make her comfortable. On the last day, she said she was proud because she stayed the whole time and had fun. As one kid said, “Going on the Greenkill trip, everyone was so nice and supportive and I had loads of fun with my classmates. I learned a lot about everybody and it was so nice to build friendships!”

I have been on two Frost Valley trips and one Greenkill trip. They were both fun, and you really get to know your fellow classmates and teachers.