For the AAPAR video contest I chose to make a video for the Inclusive Outdoor Education course offered here at SUNY Cortland, which I took earlier this semester. Unfortunately, after reading the rules for the video contest I found out I couldn't enter the video since I didn't have the clearance of the people in the video. So instead of entering the video I will reflect on the course and the video here.
The course was definitely an eye opener for me. It was possibly one of the best classes I took here at Cortland. Being up at Raquette Lake in a beautiful outdoor setting was great. The people who came from Wildwood Schools in Albany were great as well. The first night was spent getting to know each other and playing different icebreakers and games.
The next day we woke up early and split the group into two. One group went for a hike while the other group got to participate on the low ropes course. My group got to go on the hike first and it was great to be able to walk and talk with each other and enjoy the nature around us. The whole group met back at camp for lunch and then switched spots in the afternoon.
The low ropes course was a good experience too. I never imagined that some of the people would be able to participate as much as they did. One person who had been in a wheelchair was even able to get up and walk across a balance beam in the air, with the support of the other group members. It was great to see the excitement on the people's faces, and how we could all work together as a team.
The groups then got back together at the camp and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the lake. We used canoes, kayak and some even went swimming. After dinner, we met in one of the cabins to play some more games and then had a bonfire where we sang songs and just socialized late into the night.
The following morning we met for breakfast, then helped each other pack and said our goodbyes. I wont lie, it was sad to go. Its amazing how close you can get with a group of people in such little time. Thats what I enjoyed about being out on Raquette Lake. You are cut off from the world in a way and so you resort to actually socializing with people face to face, which I feel is lost in this day in age.
The video I made was from the pictures that all of the undergrad students at Cortland took. It was set to music ( "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor, "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers, and "You've Got a Friend in Me" by Randy Newman). Each photo had a different transition to the last and the songs where edited so they fit the length of the video. It was a process that took a while, but in the end it was worth the time I put into it.
Overall, the experience of the video and the class was great for me. It made me realize that a lot of times we judge people before we get to know them. When I first met many of the students from Wildwood, I couldn't imagine any of them participating in a low ropes course and swinging from ropes or walking on wires from tree to tree. However nearly all of them participated in the courses, and many did more than even I am comfortable doing. We shouldn't judge people by appearance or by the labels that come with having a disability but sadly society does. They are still human beings and deserve the respect and the chances that comes with it.
Total Time: 4 Hours