Every grade in the Maclay Upper School is given the opportunity to have a field trip. For sophomores, it’s sophomore Safari. Sophomore Safari has been a class field trip at Maclay School for many years. This annual trip gives students the time to bond with one another and grow closer as a class. On Feb. 13 Maclay’s class of 2025 traveled down to Circle F Dude Ranch in Polk County, Florida. Students arrived at Maclay packed and ready to go on Monday morning at 5:45 a.m. and were on the road by 6 a.m. The group reached their destination at around 11:30 a.m. After their arrival, students were given time to unpack and make their beds. At noon they gathered in the dining hall for lunch. 

After lunch, students met up and were given a walk-through of what the day would be like. They were then divided into seven different activity groups that  consisted of ax throwing, paintball, wilderness survival and an alpine swing tower. Throughout the day, the sophomores were also given some free time to do whatever they pleased. During their free time, many students indulged in the sun, played beach volleyball, canoeing, swam in the lake or hung out around the camp. At night students gathered for a night hike through the woods and stargazed with their classmates. 

“I was surprised,” sophomore Lynn Newton said. “I thought it [Sophomore Safari] would be a lot like Freshman Challenge so I wasn’t looking forward to it, but it surprised me, it was really good and I enjoyed it.”

On day two, the group was up and moving bright and early by 7:30 a.m. as they went down to the dining hall for breakfast by 8:00 a.m. Following breakfast, students met at the front of the camp to hear what their new activities for the day would be. Different from the first day’s activities, they had new options such as horseback riding, rock climbing and ziplining. At around 4:45 p.m. the sophomores had waterfront free time to swim and canoe in the lake. Since Tuesday night was the last night of Sophomore Safari, Circle F staff put together a bonfire, a hayride and smores to celebrate one last night of bonding. 

“[My favorite activity was] the swing,” sophomore Nash Beshears said. “I had a great time with everybody. There were little things I didn’t like, but overall it was a fun experience.”

Wednesday was the class of 2025’s last day, so Circle F put together a competition between all seven groups. Each group had to build a boat out of two pieces of cardboard and two rolls of duct tape and then sail it across the bay with one person from each team as a captain. After an hour of preparation, group two ended up winning the race and taking the victory. The class then had one last meal at the camp before finally heading back home.

“I think everybody had a good time,” sophomore class sponsor Kristin Kline said. “We played hard and got to know each other better and overall I think it went really well. I really liked watching the alpine swing where people got pulled up and dropped, especially the first time nobody really knew what to expect and it was kind of terrifying.”