Project Week Throwback
“The teachers and students had a memorable bonding experience during project week, that lasted well into high school years and beyond. “ - Staff Alum Bill Britt
Here at ASH, middle school project week is an important highlight of the middle school year. In addition to getting to know our host country better, middle school students make new friends, tackle team building activities, prepare for performances, and enjoy each other’s company through play, reflection and socials.
But did you know that ASH’s Project Week is a middle school tradition that goes back as far as the 1970’s? Over the last 50 years, students and staff who went on project week visited countries across Europe such as England, France and Switzerland. Sometimes project week took place in the spring, and sometimes in the fall, and typically there was a project t-shirt designed with a fun logo and all the participant names, as a memento of the experience.
Staff alum Bill Britt took some time to share his memories of project weeks that he participated in over the years, especially project 7 and 8 which he always took part in. Bill has kept all of his project t-shirts from the years he took part, which really illustrates the uniqueness of each project trip.
“It was decided to combine both 7th & 8th grades and go on an early Fall Project to Switzerland in 1989. The focus was to get to know the students and teachers at the beginning of the year. Village Camps organization ran the projects and led all the activities; four buses for 92 students and 12 teachers drove 15 hours to Switzerland. The long bus rides gave plenty of time for ‘socialization’, as of course, there were no cell phones invented then! 7th and 8th graders stayed in separate chalets in Leysin, Switzerland and were bused to varied Swiss tourist attractions. We took cable car rides, hiked in the mountains, and toured chocolate factories.”
“8th grade returned to Switzerland in the late Spring of 1990, centered in village of Chateau d’Oex. Village Camps ran the hotel arrangements and evening sport activities while the 8th grade staff ran the various daily activities. These included mountain bike riding, Alpine Field Studies, white water rafting, village museum and church history, touring village of Gruyere and nearby chocolate factory. The 15 hour bus rides became more popular with DVDs to watch and electronic games and CD players! It was a fun time for socialization. We eventually moved to separate girls and boys buses, that despite early protests, became very popular. Girls no longer had to watch ‘boy’s movies’ and vice versa! There was no longer a ‘cool bus’ and a ‘not so cool bus’, also making it more fair and fun for all.”
These memories make it clear that Project Week for our middle school students and staff is more than just a school trip, it's an experience that the students will take with them and remember always, as a time when friendships were made, laughter was shared, and the excitement of being a part of the middle school was felt by all.