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Balancing Act | Mind, Body, Spirit

March 17, 2018

On our first day of the second week of the Balancing Act ECS, we were introduced to Mrs. Jennifer Clarke P’29, P’27, a psychologist at the Air Force Academy. She talked to us about how stress could impact our lives. It was very interesting and our ECS learned alot about stress and the mind and how to calm down. Later, in the afternoon we talked to Dr. Melissa Hocate P’27, P’20, P’16, who gave us an even grander idea about stress. It was very entertaining to learn about stress!

Ice Climbing at Lake George On the second day of our ECS, we traveled the long drive up to Lake George for Ice Climbing with Front Range Climbing. When we arrived, the weather wasn’t too bad. It was exciting! The wall was about 75 feet with about 7 different routes to climb up the ice, each with their own difficulty. Our ECS had to use crampons which were attached to our boots and ice picks to make our way up the wall. We were given a choice between belaying, which for us, it was a good lesson in trust and focus, as communication between belayer and climber is critical for a safe and fun climb. “Ice Climbing was really difficult because it was the first activity I’ve done in a while which brought me out of my comfort zone.” - Julienne T, 21’.

On our third day of our ECS, we drove up to the Olympic Training Center. It was such an exciting experience to see where athletes from all over the world trained and lived! First, we had a tour of the whole place and it was absolutely amazing! We got to see the pool, and lucky for us, we were able to watch some athletes practice. We also got to see the boxing arena and we took many photos in the ring! Next, we got to learn about athletes health and how their trainers would help them train and help the athletes recover from injuries. Whether you are an Olympic level athlete or not, goal setting is really important. Many of us are trying the SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed). After we traveled to the kitchen and learned about being nutritious and how athletes eat. Again, it is important to maintain a healthy diet if you are to compete or just to be your best. The nutritionist asked us to think about our bodies as high-performing cars, fuel in is worth thinking about. When we were finished with that we headed to one of the many gyms on the OTC campus to learn about sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. It was really fun to play sitting volleyball, but it was also really challenging because it was tempting to stand up and hit the ball, but we had to stay seated the whole time! Wheelchair basketball was also very enjoyable! It was exactly like basketball, without a wheelchair. After playing these two fun sports we headed to the cafeteria. Their food was amazing! We got to talk with Mr. Kevin Penn, who is second in command at the OTC and had just gotten back from a trip to the Olympic Games in South Korea. He is the parent of Elliot and Oliver at CSS.

Playing sitting volleyball

He told us all about his family’s experience at the Olympics, which was very interesting. After lunch, we got to meet Triathlon Athlete, Erin Storie. She told us all about her life as an Olympian and answered all our questions about the training. “Visiting the Olympic Training Center was very inspiring because we got to learn about what athletes eat and their schedule, and it inspired me to further pursue my dreams of snowboarding.” - Heather H, 21’. When we got back to campus, we chose our backpacking backpacks and our snowshoes for our Wellness Retreat at Polar Star Hut and then headed home and began to pack.

On our fourth day, we talked to Dr. Craig Foster P’29, P’27 about the ways information can mislead people. He raised our awareness about the traps we can easily fall prey to. He told us about how anecdotes and testimonials can make us believe something is scientific, shared examples of the placebo effect and gave tips on how to be sure your information is factual and dependable. After he left, we got to learn how to pack efficiently. We unpacked all our bags, which we had previously packed at home and brought in, and repacked them. In a more efficient way. After we had sorted out the packing deal, we got into three groups to decide meal-making for our hike next week. It was very fun to communicate with the people on this ECS to make meals that would work for the conditions we were heading into.

On Friday, we got to meet Mr. Johnston P’17, P’12, who is an ultramarathon runner. He talked to us about ultramarathon and his goal for a 100-mile marathon race coming up. Again, just like Olympic athletes, we may not all become ultra runners but many of the things Mr. Johnston does to be successful, transfers to anyone. We then drove up to Manitou to do the Incline. It was difficult, but in the end, it was so worth it to see the view. While hiking up the 2,744 steps, the day grew hotter and hotter as the sun shone down on your back. We were all lucky to have put on sunscreen prior to the climb! Everybody made it up to the top of the Incline and there we took a break, which then after we took the 3-mile Barr trail down back to the parking lot. This hike is shorter, but much steeper than our Polar Star hike will be on Monday.

So far this ECS has inspired us to work hard and do well! There is lots of inspiration to be had and we are making progress on our Personal Wellness Plans. It has been the most exciting experience ever!


Ice Climbing at Lake George
Playing sitting volleyball