As mentioned in my previous blog posting, I want to write specifically about the programs provided by the National Guard in the area of drug, alcohol, and substance abuse. There are several programs available through the National Guard designed to suit your specific needs in the areas of leadership training and drug education. Even if your school currently has a drug education program, I believe it would be advantageous to research available programs through the National Guard. Perhaps your school has been doing the same drug education presentation to your students for several years and your students are becoming a little bored with the repetition. Maybe the teachers are too. Check out the National Guard Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) program. It will provide a fresh approach to drug education for your school.
During the teacher’s conference this past summer, I had the privilege of experiencing first hand several of the activities that are used in their lessons. To say the least, I was extremely impressed with the activities and how the lessons are tied in to drug education and leadership training. Before one of the lessons, we were told that we could learn a lot from a rubber chicken. Well, I was very skeptical. But, as it turns out, rubber chickens are very, very intelligent. Rubber chickens can teach you the importance of communication. Really!!! If you want to learn how, check out your local National Guard DDR program.
Another lesson which was done on a low ropes course required our group to work together as a team to complete the course from one end to the other. It was virtually impossible for one person to complete the course alone. In order to maintain balance on the cable we were walking on, an overhead rope had to be swung to you so that you could hold on. As you progressed to the next section, another overhead rope was swung to you by the person in front of you. In this way, you were able to make your way along the entire course. Almost like swinging through the trees with Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah.
Our final activities were on the high ropes. When I say high, I mean about 40 feet high. Talk about a different perspective on things. High ropes require trust. Trust in yourself, trust in the people on the ground, and trust in your partner on the ropes. They also require confidence and the ability to overcome obstacles. Not just physical obstacles, but emotional and mental as well. I don’t believe there is any way to prepare yourself for the mental challenge of a high ropes course. The feelings and challenges that are created on the high ropes are completely different from anything else most people experience in life. It is a unique feeling that almost overwhelms you as you work with your partner to exchange places as you walk a telephone pole 40 feet above the ground. There is nothing like a high ropes course when you want to build confidence, problem solving skills, and the ability to overcome new challenges one might face in any aspect of their life. In Pennsylvania where I live, the high ropes are done at Fort Indiantown Gap as a residence program. Don’t let me scare you away from these programs with my stories of the high ropes. The National Guard has a variety of programs available.