The freshman class completed the annual Freshman Challenge October 28-29. They traveled to Camp Southwind, a Young Life camp in Ocala, Florida. The trip was designed to foster new friendships and create fun memories with classmates. 

The freshman class, along with a select group of juniors and seniors as counselors, went off campus and participated in fun activities with their classmates. The trip only recently transitioned into an overnight trip. The extra day was added to allow for more freedom and activities. 

The administrators place each freshman in groups of around 10 students, with two or three counselors. Each group is assigned a color, and the counselors are in charge of creating shirts and a team name for the group. The groups are designed to put freshman with classmates they may not be good friends with, so they can all bond and create new friendships. 

“I liked the challenge a lot because the groups and the rooms had a lot of different people that were able to get to know each other better,” junior Ramsay Grant said. 

After everyone arrived, the first activity on the agenda was a series of games against other groups. The games included wiffle ball, dodgeball, beach volleyball and capture the flag, and the different color teams faced off against each other. 

The first night included skits, where each group comes together and makes a funny skit to present to the rest of the class. The skits are a tradition of the Freshman Challenge.

“It was fun to impersonate our teachers and some stereotypes at Maclay,” freshman Clayton Knox said. “It was a great way to bond with other freshmen.”

The feature of the second day was the Freshman Olympics. This is a newer addition to the Freshman Challenge itinerary, and it includes games like charades and the quiet game, where kids line up based on some category without speaking. 

“My favorite part was the Freshman Olympics,” junior Madison Perkins said. “I got to interact and bond with all the freshman from every team instead of just my own teammates.”

The group also spent time together during mealtimes. During Freshman Challenge, the chaperones and participants ate four meals at the camp, and each meal was buffet-style. As a part of bonding, the groups sat with their colors. 

“I really like watching people interact at mealtimes,” Chaperone Kristen Kline said. “It’s the unstructured time where things really come out.”

After a full weekend of games and activities, the group headed back home to Tallahassee and went back to school, hopefully with new friendships.