The new community-building initiatives, such as an overnight at Camp Becket along with Connect4, a corridor-based discussion program for underclassmen, have made the transition into Deerfield life easier than expected for both new and old students.
On opening weekend, ninth graders departed for Camp Becket, an overnight YMCA camp located in the Berkshires.
“The retreat is an immediate way to get freshmen to meet each other, and with everyone wearing the same bright green t-shirt it reminds the class that they are all here at Deerfield together,” said history teacher and member of the Residential Program Committee Rebecca Melvoin.
The camp schedule included a ropes course, skits, s’mores around a campfire, and other team-building activities.
“It broke up the cliquishness I imagined I would encounter and allowed me to meet day students and people I wouldn’t have met before through sports or living situations,” said Heidi Hunt ’15.
However, some students feel the program could have encouraged more bonding. Kemi Akande ’15 commented, “Assigned seating might have been nice so that you felt more pressured to sit with people you didn’t know already.”
Xavier Salvador ’14 shared his enthusiasm for the Connect4-spurred hall conversations. “The discussions serve as great bonding time for the hall to talk about problems together and find ways to solve them.”
Despite the positive responses, the Residential Program is “still an ongoing process,” reminded Dean of Students Amie Creagh.