On Sunday, March 31, 2019, five other Kenan Scholars and I took part in a high ropes course event at the UNC Outdoor Recreation Center. Not only was the physical experience an event in itself, but so was the pre-event planning process. It ended up being much harder than I expected and taught me several lessons.
Lesson #1: There is a gap between the number of people who express an interest in an event and the number of people who actually sign up to attend. Before the high ropes event was scheduled, I sent out a survey to gauge interest and availability. After reviewing the survey responses, I selected Sunday, March 31, as the event date, since it was the day the majority of survey respondents indicated that they were available. With more than a dozen scholars both interested and available, I believed getting people to attend the event would be easy. However, I quickly realized this was not the case. Once the email with the sign-up link for the event had been sent out, sign-up responses were limited. I began sending emails not only to groups of scholars, but also to individual scholars. After sending out multiple emails and verbally advocating for the event, I was able to convince nine Kenan Scholars to sign up.
Lesson #2: Just because someone signs up for an event does not mean they will actually attend. To ensure that the scholars who signed up would remember to attend, I sent out an email reminder with all the details the day before the event. Our lead, Ethan, had asked me to have the group arrive ten minutes prior to start time. On Sunday, March 31, at ten minutes before the appointed time, only one other scholar and I were at the ropes course. A flush of panic hit me and I was afraid we might be the only people to actually show up. Eventually four other scholars joined us. The three other scholars who had signed up never showed.
Lesson #3: No matter what is thrown your way, try your best and have fun. Even though we were missing some participants and the weather was not great, we each held our heads high and made the best of the day. We had a really fun time. I had never met two of the individuals who signed up for the event. It was great to not only meet them, but to work alongside them to complete the course. By the end of the event, I felt like I had bonded with these fellow scholars. We were all up for the challenges we faced and pushed each other to accomplish all we could. As the event progressed, we transitioned from being individual participants trying to complete the course to a group working to together as a team.
Overall, I think all six of the participants would agree with me that the ropes course was a fun time. For me, in many ways, it was more than that – providing an experience and lessons I won’t soon forget.
Even though we were missing some participants and the weather was not great, we each held our heads high and made the best of the day. We had a really fun time.Abby Staker, Kenan Scholar