Sunday, September 27, 2009

In which Jake emerges from the woods

Hey everyone, I'm actually alive! Exceedingly lazy, but alive. Sorry for the lack of updates, it's been a weird/long week.

I write this two days after returning from Basic Training Retreat, one of the final elements of CY training. For a day and two nights, we all decamped to Camp Vacamas, near West Milford, NJ, for some serious team building. Some activities during our time there included:

  • a "challenge course" with such activities as getting the entire team across a pit on a tire swing, having the entire team scale a wall, and getting the entire team through a series of tires without anyone touching the ground.
  • having everyone on the team complete the sentences "If you really knew me..., If you really, really knew me..., and If you really, really, really knew me..."
  • having everyone on the team be subject to a Q&A period from the rest of the team
  • several lectures on active listening and maintaining team peace, while utilizing constructive conflict
  • a talent show, the highlight of which was one of the team leaders singing opera
  • the first alcohol-free dance I've been to in a long time
  • so many chants, calisthenics, and yelling in general that my voice was hoarse for the final day
  • me getting the opportunity to read the Word of the Day at Friday's morning rally. I don't remember what the word was, but the important part was that I got to yell really loud.
  • not getting eaten by bears
It was a really creative way to build trust while still making sure that it wasn't a total chore. Also, I learned that some of my teammates in the Bronx are excellent poker players. Gamblers beware.

One more week of training remains. Tomorrow we get our uniform pieces, and later in the week we'll all be waking up really early to go mug for the camera on the various morning shows that originate in New York. Friday is Opening Day, featuring keynote speaker Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Monday is the first day of full-time service in the schools.

Coming tomorrow: pics of me in the uniform. Brace for fashion!

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