I-Be Bonding: IB Community Hosts First Retreat Promoting Importance of Team Building

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  • Chaos ensues in the makeshift “stock exchange” market as IB students rush to trade various commodities in a team-building exercise. The retreat included several bonding activities throughout the day.

  • Standing in a circle, IB students listen intently to an instructor from Newks. After the instructions, the students split up to join their houses in other team building exercises.

  • Jumping on numbers within a square, IB students participate in a team building activity in the IB Retreat within their houses. The House “Risk Takers” engaged in other house bonding activities like getting through a maze blindfolded and trying to separate a pair of handcuffs.

  • IB students from the House “Caring” sit in a circle blindfolding themselves. The students then proceeded to build a house out of ropes with no vision, encouraging trust and communication between house members.

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To strengthen the International Baccalaureate (IB) program community after a year of virtual interactions, students attended the IB Retreat in the cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 1. There was a morning session from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students participated in team-building activities arranged by the Newks Ranch from New Braunfels, Texas. 

“Coming out of COVID, we all wanted to jumpstart the rebuilding of [the] community in the IB program,” TOK teacher Coach Matthew McBrearty said. “I thought the retreat would be a great way to start rebuilding.  Just like with my swim team, I hoped we could start to see what we do well and see what we could do better as an IB community.  We originally hoped to do that at the very start of the year but the timing wasn’t right.”

Upon arrival, students were checked into the IB Houses they were assigned to. IB Houses is a new initiative put on by the IB Student Organization (IBSO) officers to create mini-communities within the massive IB community. They function similarly to the houses in Harry Potter, and each house is named after one of the ten IB Learner Profile traits. 

“I’m actually really excited about the Houses part,” AJ Darwin ‘22 said. “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to bond with a lot of the underclassmen because we don’t get that much time or opportunity to interact with them just because of all the responsibilities of IB. I think it’s also a good opportunity for leadership for a lot of people since there are a lot of House leaders. So [there are] good collaboration opportunities [and] good leadership opportunities.” 

After checking in, students from all houses participated in activities together in the cafeteria. The first exercise involved students pairing up and trying to open their partner’s fist in seven seconds. The purpose of the activity was to see if students would try to pry the hand open or use alternative methods, such as asking their partner to open their fist. Afterward, students had to help each other fit everyone’s feet into a space enclosed by a rope. Following that, students participated in a market activity where they were given eight cards with different commodities on them and had to trade with other groups until they had eight cards of the same commodity. 

“I thought that the [activity] with the cards and the market was super fun,” Samia Bruster ‘22. “It actually had competition in it, so it drove people to do and participate more. The [activity] with the ropes and the circles was fun at first, but after a while, it got a little boring, because no one was getting eliminated, or there wasn’t an objective. I didn’t seem like it was too knowledgeable of worthy.” 

Following the large-group activities, students split into their houses to participate in activities amongst themselves. These activities included getting through a “minefield” blindfolded, running and stepping on numbers, and getting golf balls to roll down a pipe into a bucket. 

“[We] figured out that you needed to take the time penalty in the box, and then for the pipe activity, Bria [Rowe ‘22] already knew how to do it, so all we had to do was to figure out how to execute what her idea was,” Grace Li ‘22 said.

IB students will gather on Wednesday, Nov. 17 for Grateful Gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving before the break.