Sunday was CampInteractive rafting day.  Two groups combined, a group of CampInteractive students and a group from Kingsbridge International High School, to go on an exciting rafting trip down the Delaware River Gap.  Kingsbridge International High School exists for the Bronx’s large population of recent immigrants, most of the students have been the United States for three years or less.

We met in the Bronx early Sunday morning, a CampInteractive group, a KIHS group, CI staff, and two KIHS teachers, also along was a volunteer from Inner City Outings.   The staff tried to convince the students to mingle – trying to convince them to sit with people they do not know and playing name games.

For this reason, we purposefully mixed KIHS and CampInteractive students on the rafts.  One important boat, captained by yours truly, had three KIHS students, two CampInteractive students, and one Washington and Lee CampInteractive summer intern.  We had a great time paddling down the river, which was gorgeous with steep green mountains on both sides.  CampInteractive was also blessed with perfect weather all day (finally!).  There was also a lot of swimming, and eventually I was pushed overboard by a CampInteractive student, deservedly since I had pushed him first.

We did have some problems onboard our happy vessel.  Those mainly grew from the language barrier.  Two of my students were recent Haitian immigrants who felt much more comfortable speaking in Creole to each other than trying English with the whole group.  The third KIHS student was Yemenite and also showed self-consciousness in English.  Still, we all got along very well and had a good time.  Everyone contributed to the rafting efforts, especially in waterfights with the other boats.  A common goal- trying to soak people on the other raft- can overcome language barriers.

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