“This one time, at QUEST Camp…”

Cohort 19 bonds during two-day orientation at Camp Horizons

Article by Meenu Singh (Q19)

From August 25th to 26th, 2011, QUEST Cohort 19 voyaged to Harrisonburg, Virginia to spend a day and a half at the Outdoor Learning Center at Camp Horizons for QUEST New Student Orientation. IMG_5916

The Cohort departed bright and early on the 25th for a two-hour bus ride to the picturesque Shenandoah Mountains. Though the weather was less than perfect, the spontaneous bouts of torrential downpour failed to put a damper on QUEST Camp activities. The first day included a variety of icebreakers, leadership personality tests, and plenty of high-flying team building activities, including tackling the ropes and zip lining challenge course. “My favorite part was when I overcame my fear of heights and went zip lining,” said Nupur Kothari, a member of Cohort 19. “Everyone was cheering me on and helping me through it.”

Q19 members were also introduced to their teams for BMGT190H, and had the opportunity to work with their groups to innovate during the “Pilot Products” challenge. The teams showed off their creativity and sense of humor with products ranging from medical devices to ingenious iPhone applications to magnetic-clasp bras. The activity also gave Cohort 19 students a sample of QUEST challenges to come. “Pilot products definitely gave me a taste of presenting and coming up with ideas quickly,” said Rubbel Kumar. Teams then had to market their products in two-minute skits, which were judged by a panel comprised of team mentors and BMGT190H teaching assistants. “QUEST Camp really helped us get to know our teams early and to start bonding with our team members,” reported Bryan Prince from Team U.P.
The first day finished off with a campfire and s’mores. As students roasted marshmallows, older QUEST members spoke about their experiences in the program and answered frequently asked “QUESTions” about the program. Several students finished the night by playing board games and bonding underneath the perfectly clear night sky.

The highlight of the second day was undoubtedly the raft-building competition, in which teams had to first construct a raft from cardboard boxes, duct tape, and plastic garbage bags. Students then had to race the rafts across Lake Phillipa. Although many rafts were not as successful as anticipated, the competition was full of cheers, laughs and fun for all…though perhaps not as much fun for those who took an unexpected morning swim in the lake.

As students packed up their belongings and headed back to their buses, they reflected on their time at Camp and on their expectations for the upcoming year. “My favorite part of QUEST Camp was probably the fact that everyone was so open with each other,” said Q19’s Becky Gagnon. “Usually orientations are awkward because people tend to stick only with the people they know. But at QUEST Camp, you could sit at a table with people you’d never met and have a good conversation without feeling like you were being judged.”

As the Cohort made their way back to College Park, the buses were buzzing with chatter and excitement over the events of past day and a half and the prospect of the next three years in the QUEST program. Most importantly, however, students stepped off the bus not as assorted Cohort 19 members, but as friends.
Cohort 19 would like to thank both Camp Horizons along with QUEST faculty and staff for making QUEST Camp such a memorable, enjoyable experience. As we embark on the first leg of our QUEST journey this year, we cannot wait to see what’s over the horizon!

Cohort 19 photo - resized

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