(Year 4, Week 4)

I Am

Last week the heroes were introduced to an art project called, “I Am.” They were challenged to trace their bodies and color themselves in, based on how they see themselves. After they were done coloring and filling themselves in, they were challenged to write all of the different characteristics or traits they see in themselves.

Before they got started, the heroes were asked what they saw within themselves. Hands flew in the air:

“I am a leader.”

“I am kind.”

“I am understading.”

“I am an animal lover.”

Once one hero shared, more and more hands flew in the air. Not only to share what they think about themselves, but what they love about their fellow heroes. The task of creating their I Am projects ended up taking longer than anticipated and so it flowed into this week. One group had finished their quest and decided to use their hour of time to work on their projects.

In the studio, one of the greatest joys is seeing what the heroes will choose to work on. So often, the assumption might be that they will only choose to work on activities that earn them points and hero bucks. However, most often, the heroes reach for creative projects in their free-time. From doing their I Am art, choreographing dance moves and even teaching themselves cursive. In the Discovery studio, it rings true that heroes love the arts, creativity and imagination.

Goodbye Pumpkin Seed

Sadness trickled throughout all of the studio’s on Tuesday. The heroes had to say goodbye to their precious hamster, Pumpkin Seed. The previous day, the heroes had noticed that she was taking very slow breaths and was extremely cold. Their first thought was that she was choking on something, but as the day wore on, they knew it had to be something else.

The heroes kept her wrapped tightly in warm blankets and put a little space heater next to her to keep her comfy. Trying to give her little bits of water and food. Sadly, she passed Monday afternoon and many teary eyed heroes said goodbye to her.

They then set to planning the funeral for their beloved hamster. When everyone showed up at noon, Pumpkin Seed was wrapped in a box with beautiful flowers placed on top of her. The heroes stayed as silent as possible and one by one, they walked up to her and gave speeches. Their speeches were eloquent and from the heart. Sharing sweet stories about her and how she changed their lives in just a short amount of time.

At the end of the service, one of the Adventure studio heroes brought out a grave marker made of wood. It was a really powerful moment to see the heroes band together and say goodbye to their sweet pet. It was remarkable to see how deeply they cared, how hard they worked on their writing and how when something deeply matters to them, they put 110% effort in.

Quest

The heroes have only had a short time to work on their quest. They had spent the first two weeks of the session doing team-building activities and working on their new contracts. On Wednesday, they realized they only had about two work days left to get their lip dubs done. While some heroes cheered, others put their heads down. The following comments were made when asked what they were struggling with;

“I can’t do it.”

“I am just not good at this”

“we made too many mistakes.”

After the heroes vented their frustrations, the guide asked;

“Do you believe your frustrations are the result of one of the following?

A fixed mindset

Poor communication

or something else?

Every single one of the heroes, who vented in frustration, raised their hands and said;

“A fixed mindset.”

They then opened up the discussion to talk about ways they could work with their group to get out of their fixed mindset. Let it be known, that is no easy task. Sure, anyone can chant growth mindset praise, but putting it into practice is much more difficult.

When the heroes left discussion, the guide walked around outside and observed. The growth mindset praise from one another far exceeded the fixed mindset. The heroes could be heard saying;

“We just aren’t good at this yet! Keep trying!”

“It’s okay we messed up, we’re learning.”

“It’s okay if you can’t remember the whole dance, just keep trying your best.”

At the end of Quest, three of the five groups were officially checked off. The excitement didn’t end there. The groups that were finished, asked the two remaining groups if they wanted help. The heroes had the choice to move into board game time but chose to help their fellow travelers. During the next hour, squads were helping with the choreography, singing and video placement. Leadership and kindness spread all throughout.

Closed Until Further Notice

When heroes walked into the studio, they noticed that the reset space was shutdown. Tape was blocking the entrance into the reset space and many of the heroes were confused by the blocking.

Every day, the heroes have a responsibility to themselves, their fellow travelers and the studio to pick up their personal maintenance and to do their studio maintenance. Unfortunately, the personal maintenance was not taken care of along with the studio maintenance. This was the state of the reset space was at the end of the day, when the heroes had gone home.

In the morning, the heroes were asked a series of questions;

“Should we get rid of the reset room guardrails or should we adjust them?”

“Would the entire studio like to help them clean up or should it just be the heroes who made the mess?

“Is the state of the room an issue of personal maintenance or studio maintenance?”

They voted and believed that the guardrails should stay, but be adjusted. They believed it was up to the heroes who made the mess, to clean it up, and that it was an issue of personal maintenance. For the next 30 minutes, the heroes who were in reset got to work. Using vacuums, cleaning supplies and a lot of elbow grease to get their jobs done. Once finished, their fellow heroes welcomed them with an applause into core skills.

Town Hall

There is a lot that happens during the week in the studio. From an outside perspective, it may look like chaos and possibly even is, but on a deeper level, they’re truly moments of growth. During the week, the following had occurred:

  1. Paper airplanes being thrown at people during core skills.
  2. Running and screaming from one end of the room to the other in an intense battle of freeze tag.
  3. Copious amounts of spray cleaner being used.
  4. Going through an entire box of construction paper in one week.

By the time Friday rolled around, leadership stepped up. Every single one of these observations, noticed by the guide, was brought up in town hall, strictly by the heroes. Trusting the heroes to create their community, to hold boundaries and keep one another accountable is fool-proof. They believe so deeply in themselves and each other that they have no problem bringing up issues or poor choices. They sat for 30 minutes and discussed exactly how they wanted to handle each situation moving forward. They demonstrated how to use the cleaning supplies. They elected two toy heroes and set boundaries on when and how much construction paper could be used.

One of the best quotes had to be;

“Guys, this paper costs money, and I don’t know about all of you but this is not in my budget to replace! We gotta figure out a system or we’re gonna be bankrupt.”

Wrap-Up

The heroes went through a lot this last week. Saying goodbye to Pumpkin Seed, working to finish Quest and implementing new systems in town hall. There was never a dull moment and more learning experiences than ever before. As always, the heroes ended the week with character call-outs. On Friday at 3, their eyes lit up knowing they would get to share all of the wonderful characteristics they see in the fellow heroes. Here are some of the highlights:

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org