Challenge Day at ILHS

Challenge Day at ILHS
Posted on 10/15/2019
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Challenge Day
After participating in a Challenge Day at a neighboring school last year, Indian Lake Senior Colton Dugan knew it was a program that could help his classmates.
So as President of the ILHS Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, Dugan wrote and received a $5,000 United Way of Logan County grant to bring this social-emotional learning event to ILHS. 
Dugan says, "I took what I learned and I applied it to my life in school. And I want everyone that was in there today to apply what they learned and make the most of it. "
The recent Challenge Day event at Indian Lake High School brought about 85 ILHS students and 15 Calvary Christian students together, along with staff members from both schools and members of the community. 
Workshop Facilitator Dorias Brannon says Challenge Day is about giving young people the opportunity to be 100 percent themselves.
He explains, "They can open up and talk about things that they have happening in their lives that we never really give them a safe container in which to really express those concerns. We want to let them know they have the power to break cycles and make positive changes in their lives." 
The day began with games and activities to get to know each other. After sharing their own personal stories of struggle with abuse, addiction and abandonment, facilitators broke participants into small groups to share in an activity called "What You Know When You Really Know Me." Many students and adults felt comfortable enough to relay the concerns that weigh heavy in their lives like family problems, peer pressure, bullying and beyond. 
Later, the entire group took part in the Challenge Day signature exercise called "Cross the Line." This simple activity done in silence invites participants to cross a literal line on the floor if they have experienced a wide variety of oppressions or tragic events. It offers a plain and, often surprising, reality of people who have endured similar experiences and stereotypes.  
Dugan says even the second time around, the Challenge Day helped him better understand what his classmates are going through and appreciate his own circumstances. 
"I'm not saying I don't have struggles, but I have a pretty good life. The biggest thing and the worst thing people do is they take what they have for granted. The more grateful you are and the sooner you realize what you do have, the sooner you start to look for good things in others." 
Challenge Day wrapped up with participants sharing the uplifting lessons they learned and looking toward the future with hope.  
Brannon says, "We want them to have fun, to let them know they can enjoy life and love themselves." 
At the conclusion of the day, each participant pledged to carry the message of Challenge Day to the entire student body by signing the "Be the Change" pledge.