On May 24th, all staff and students participated in Adventure Day, a chance to try whitewater rafting and to celebrate another successful school year coming to a close.
At Oliverian, we pride ourselves on being the place to find your place. This come-one, come-all campus embraces each kid for who they are, quickly becoming our students’ home away from home. Our tight-knit community makes us family – and that makes it hard to say goodbye at the end of the school year.
Luckily, at Oliverian, we choose to honor a year of hard work and meaningful friendships with a celebration in lieu of parting blues. On May 24th, lead planner and Director of Student Life Connor Fahey led us on Adventure Day 2019: whitewater rafting on the Deerfield River. An annual event that takes place one week before the last day of class, Adventure Day is an opportunity to get into the great outdoors, try something new, and have a blast with all students and staff.
Speaking to Adventure Day’s integral role in end-of-year festivities, Fahey says, “Adventure Day provides happy closure. In the middle of the crunch period leading up to graduation, we get to commemorate that we made it to the finish line, and students get one last time to have a lot of fun together.”
The annual field trip was a full-day affair: bus-loading began at 7 A.M., and the caravan returned to campus around 7 P.M. for a communal dinner.
“We got up early and made it to the river with enough time to raft from about 11:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.,” says Fahey. “The kids who went rafting ate lunch on the river, and the students who stayed on land played chess, cards, and football and had a picnic on shore.” Upon arrival back at school in the evening, everyone enjoyed handmade pizza prepared by resident Oli chef Billy Brigtsen.
Of course, Oli is geographically well situated for this kind of excursion, and students were eager to spend time with classmates on the river and in the Berkshire hills. There was a great deal of anticipation leading up to the trip, which Fahey began coordinating last fall. “The kids were great about getting up earlier than usual,” Fahey notes. “There are always bittersweet feelings leading up to this time of year as everyone prepares to move on, but it’s mostly excitement.”
The best parts of the day were simple — well-deserved moments of light-hearted fun. The rapids were mostly Class I and Class II, so the ride was gentle… Water Wars, however, were more turbulent!
“A couple of kids got really competitive and ended up throwing buckets of water on themselves when they were trying to splash someone else,” Fahey remembers when reviewing the trip’s highlights. The most important part of the day? “There were a lot of laughs.”
Adventure Day is designed to support the qualities that define Oli’s spirit: engagement, curiosity, and warmth. “What’s unique to our culture is that we prioritize being exposed to things we’ve never done before,” Fahey notes. In this way, Adventure Day dovetails with Oli’s curriculum and central goals without being strictly academic. “We’re residential for a reason,” Fahey says. “Kids can take what they learn from their counselors and teachers and apply it outside the classroom and in their everyday lives.”
With Adventure Day, students have the opportunity to participate in something both collectively and individually meaningful as they build community and add to their own personal experiences.
“Ultimately, it’s about connecting and doing something you may never have tried, with the support of your friends,” Fahey says.
The magic of Adventure Day is in the chance to forge lifelong memories with friends-turned-family. “Whether you learned that you love rafting or that it’s not for you, the shared experiences of this day are something you take with you when you leave.”