Adventure Day comes to Castleton

The buzzing around campus was particularly loud May 3 with Castleton State playing host to more than 80 elementary, middle school and high school students from surrounding schools.

As part of the Psychology department’s annual “Adventure Day”, college students couple with local schools to bring programs they’ve been working on in the community back in touch with the campus.

“Sponsored by the Applied Behavioral Analysis course, Chrispin White and the Psychology Club, we invited participants from our various programs to come to the college for a day to play games that promote team building and leadership,” said senior Matt Couture.

Couture has been involved with the course for the last seven semesters and he says the day program serves to bring students who have been involved with CSC facilitated psychology programs at their schools into the actual Castleton community.

“These students have all been involved with a program that CSC students created from scratch. We get a very real feeling of ownership over our projects,” Couture said explaining the program.

“We start by identifying a problem in the school, we then review the related scientific literature, create and implement our program, and finally collect quantitative data to show progress and adjust our programs based on the data,” he said.

Terry Bergen, professor of psychology and applied behavioral analysis instructor, says he is proud of the initiative his students have taken.

“It’s really a service learning course where I’ve given the class over to the students,” Bergen said. “Sometimes, I don’t even go to class.”

With this kind of independence as a focus of the course, Bergen hopes that students will learn how to implement professionalism and exude comfort in their interactions.

“Because this is service learning, the projects are time consuming and important. It also turns out they’re really powerful,” he said.

Junior psychology student Sarah Guth, who helped lead the Adventure Day program, agrees that the experience provides students with independence as well as challenges.

“It’s completely student led, all by ourselves,” she said.

“In my group, I work with an autistic child. This not only presents difficulties in planning the activities, but in making sure that he feels involved, as well,” Guth adds.

Maureen Chapman, a health and leadership teacher at Poultney Elementary School, commends the program and the student leaders as well.

“CSC students are exemplary. They really demonstrate how to step up and lead,” Chapman said.

Another Adventure Day leader, senior Dan Hammond, says that it’s not only the ability to relate their projects that’s beneficial.

“The kids love it-just hanging out with college students and eating at Huden,” Hammond said, smiling.

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