End of First Week for Jacob’s Ladder Program, 2018

The first week of the summer program for Jacob’s Ladder 2018 ended with our 58 Climbers appreciating the art of musical theatre, creating art, and serving others.

With tickets donated by the Virginia Repertory Theatre, the Seniors traveled to Richmond Va, Saturday to the enjoy the musical “West Side Story”.  Performing Arts director, Nicole Pearson has made this a tradition which all Seniors, the rising 9th-grade Climbers, anticipate.

The remaining Climbers headed the opposite direction to cross the Rappahannock River into Lancaster County. Here they gleaned the second and third ears of sweet corn for the Healthy Hands Food Bank. With milder temps for a July morning and just the right amount of breeze, the Climbers picked over 10,000 pounds of sweet corn. A Climber shared that, ”I don’t necessarily like the hard work but I understand the reason why we do this, and it is worth it to help others”.

Sunday all Climbers gathered around the Studio Two Three’s traveling art truck to silk screen their own Jacob’s Ladder tote bags. The design, created by Studio Two Three, required patience by the Climbers to see the finished project. The two-color process has the familiar JL ladder in blue for the first pass followed with a second pass of purple for the accent.  While waiting, Climbers had the chance to design and draw their own silkscreen print and play around with the process. It was a fun afternoon doing something new!

Climbers completed their first week of morning classes with topics like:  “Art Through the Ages”, “Heroes and Legends in Literature: Lessons for Life”; “C’est Si Bon summer French fun”; “Unleashing the Writer Within; Don’t be Boring”, “Storytelling; Mindfulness: Mind, Body and Spirit”, and “Dig Deeper into History”.

From his “Heroes and Legends in Literature: Lessons for Life”, Mr. Lawson recalled a Climber in this first week coming up to him saying that he had understood from previous Climbers that his classes were tough and there would be lots of note taking so he wasn’t so sure that he’d like this class. However, he discovered he was glad to be in the class as he had never heard any of the things Mr. Lawson was talking about. He was learning so much about classical authors and their literature. This child was seen later in the week sitting by the pool – while having the option for free swim – reading one of Mr. Lawson’s suggested literature picks, “Aesop’s Fables”.

Teachers from the first week were asked what was their favorite part of their Jacob’s Ladder experience. Here are a few of their thoughtful replies:  

“All good but loved morning devotionals especially the RA’s”;

“The climbers! I love hearing their thoughts and perspectives on history.”;

“My classes (awesome climbers, good number: 7 to 8 in each class), fellow teachers, wonderfully supportive staff, chapel (EVERY morning WOW! In a Chapel!), porch conversation/ reflection/feedback.”;

“Impossible to say…poetry reading, reunion with others, the porch, the toddlers, and the list goes on…”

The Resident Advisors (RA’s) are an integral part of Jacob’s Ladder. They are the first line of observation of each Climber and get to know them well. They cover everything from making sure each Climber is eating a healthy meal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keeping laundry washed and leading enrichment activities.

The RAs take over in the afternoon for the “1 to 3 time” and this first week organized a broad slate of enrichment activities including Improv Theatre, time on the waterfront, and tennis with swim lessons offered on a rotating group basis. Our goal is that each Climber graduate from Jacob’s Ladder with advanced beginner swimming skills.  

The evening activities after dinner are lead by RA’s with club time followed by field time. Each night ends with devotions.  

Lauren, a first-year Resident Advisor, reflected, “Week one of Jacob’s Ladder was an incredible start to the month. “I’m constantly impressed by the Climbers and am truly enjoying getting to know them. They’re a really special and talented group of kids, and I’m so excited to see how much they learn and grow this month. I can’t express enough what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to work with all of them- I think there’s a lot that I can learn from them as well.”

Micaiah Presley adds, “As a seasoned RA and former Climber at JL, the first week has always been the most exciting and interesting week of the Summer. This summer’s first proved to be the same as previous. As all the Climbers arrived a bit of nostalgia crept in and the feeling of camp beginning was real. While the returning climbers and RAs adjusted to the new location, this special class of new Climbers dove in head first without fear to the lifestyle of JL. It was a very calming, fun, and love-filled first week of the program. Setting the tone and pace for the rest of the summer, the first week proves that this program is special and this summer will be AMAZING.”

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