Monday, July 16, 2007

Edgewood College Visit Day 1

Today was by far the most fun day at Cabrini Connections yet. Edgewood College, a small liberal arts college in Madison, WI comes every year and does field trips, team-building and college counseling with our kids. Most of them are grad students who are teachers or are planning on going into the field of education. It's really important for the kids because a lot of them haven't had any exposure to people who work in the college field and might not even be thinking about going in that direction.
The first thing we did was go to the Freedom Museum at the Tribune Center. The entire museum is dedicated to the First Amendment and I was really impressed that one of our kids could name all parts of the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, to assemble peacefully and to petition). I couldn't even name all the different parts of the First Amendment and so I was really impressed. The museum was very cool and I think the kids especially enjoyed the part where you could record a clip of you describing what freedom meant to you. Then you can go to a video screen and watch what you said as well as what other people have said, including former president Jimmy Carter and the newest Bull, Joakim Noah.
We then did a scavenger hunt along the upper part of the Loop. I had a great group of girls who really took the initiative to go above and beyond what they were asked to do. Rather than find just one person who speaks a foreign language, they found two. Rather than find three ethnic restaurants, they found five. After racing back (our team got second, but I would give them first place for the effort they put into it), we had lunch and then did an activity about networking - something that I think everybody should work on. We then filled out a form and attached it to a balloon and let it go outside. While not the most environmentally friendly activity, the goal was that someone would find it and write back to the kids about networking. One of the Edgewood College people shared an anecdote about how one time when they did this activity, one of the balloons went all the way to Idaho because it fell in a truck that was making a cross-country trip. We had to do a bit of troubleshooting because the envelopes that we were using to transport the letters were too heavy for just one helium balloon so the coordinators of the activity had to tie several balloons to the letters so they would actually fly. It was a little frustrating for the kids but I think they were amazed when they saw their letters being carried off by the balloons. The final activity of the day was to create posters where the kids chose from different cut-out words to describe themselves. All in all, I think the kids surprised themselves by how much fun they had . I know I'm looking forward to tomorrow when we visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and then Navy Pier!

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