Students from Sampson Middle School recently embarked on a four-day adventure in the mountains of western North Carolina.
Through the Outward Bound School, eighth grade students had the opportunity to embrace and value teamwork, discover innate leadership abilities and feel a deep sense of accomplishment. Students, under the supervision of Sampson Middle School principal Greg Dirks and teacher Lesa Locklear, spent four days at the Table Rock Base Camp, learning how to face challenges and overcome obstacles.
“Outward Bound was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Dirks said. “It was an amazing opportunity for our students. Some of our students had never seen the North Carolina mountains and they were able to do so because of this trip.”
During the adventure, students climb Table Rock, all while living outdoors and learning how to survive outside of modern living. The school helps students learn more about themselves, develop leadership and teamwork skills and find inner strength they may not have known existed.
“The Outward Bound experience was exhausting and beautifully rewarding,” Locklear said. “It was an incredible blessing to watch our amazing SMS students grow as leaders and compassionate friends in the face of physical, emotional, and social challenges. It was the first time actually visiting the mountains for more than half of our group of kids.”
Students who participated in the Outward Bound experience say the four days were eye opening and rewarding.
“Outward Bound was such an eye-opening experience,” Zoey Locklear said. “I now have a new love and respect for the outdoors, and nothing can ever take that away from me. Hiking up the mountain ridges with 70 pounds of gear on your back was extremely tough, but going four days without a shower was tougher. This trip will help me whenever I face challenges. When I face something I think I can’t do, I’ll look back on what I did at Outward Bound and then be motivated to give it all I’ve got to overcome the tough situations of life.”
Eighth graders Carrington Dirks and Casey Parker echoed Zoey’s words.
“The feeling we got when we reached the top of Table Rock was amazing, between the view and the accomplishment of completing the hike to the top,” Carrington said.
According to Casey, being able to sleep under the stars each night was the second best thing next to the view at the top of Table Rock.
The new adventure didn’t offer all the students excitement upon initially learning of the task at hand. Kesean Williams admitted he was nervous in the beginning.
“I was scared when my principal Mr. Dirks said we had to climb mountains,” Kesean said. “We had heavy backpacks we had to carry the whole time. We not only carried our own stuff, but we had to carry stuff for our group, like our food, water, cooking pots, ropes, and our sleeping tarps.”
Since 1967, the North Carolina Outward Bound School has operated its Table Rock Base Camp in the shadow of this most impressive mountain, teaching much more than how to climb a rock. Upon completion of the school’s course, students embrace and value teamwork, discover innate leadership abilities and feel a deep sense of accomplishment.
Hidden deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, an imposing rock face known as Table Rock stands guard over the Linville Gorge Wilderness. In addition to recognizing the sheer beauty of the mountain, many consider Table Rock the preeminent rock climbing destination in the Southeast.
Today, the North Carolina Outward Bound School has branched out from its Table Rock beginnings to offer incredible course options at a variety of geographies. Course areas range from camps in the Appalachian Mountains and North Carolina’s 200-mile Outer Banks barrier islands, to the “rivers of grass” in the Florida Everglades and Patagonia on the southern tip of South America.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.