On September 23, nineteen high school students from the Concordia International School Shanghai landed in Beijing for an action-packed week of JUMP! programming. The first day was spent in the historical Houhai district, racing around on a scavenger hunt and then learning to make dumplings at The Hutong.
The next three days were spent in the beautiful mountains just outside of Beijing. For the weekend, JUMP! staff and students stayed at the Miao Liang environmental education center in Baihe Valley. Weekend adventures included hiking and rock climbing, river crossing, and trash collecting in the river valley. The students learned all about the various environmental technologies used at the center, and slept in cozy Mongolian style yurts. On Sunday the group traveled to Mutianyu Village, had lunch at The Schoolhouse and then ascended the Great Wall at Mutianyu on possibly the most beautiful day in Beijing history. Next, the group boarded the bus and headed to a mountain village at Huanghuacheng, an un-restored section of the Great Wall. Students hiked through the nearby mountains and watched the sun set before a bonfire by the lake. Students and staff slept in traditional kang-style beds at a hostel in Huanghuacheng before heading back to Beijing for the service project portion of the program.
The final two days of the J! Experience were spent at a school for migrant workers’ children called The Bowen School in southeast Beijing. JUMP! partnered with the Migrant Children’s Foundation for the project. The students planned, designed, and painted three murals in the entranceway of the school, planted a small garden and led various games with the migrant children.
Top 5 moments from the program
By JUMP! Facilitator Liz Heller
1. Watching the students use a map and compass to figure out on their own how to follow the trail through the mountains on a 6-hour day hike in Baihe Valley
2. Listening to the students respond thoughtfully to questions about service during an evening activity in Miao Liang. i.e. Can one person change a community? Should everyone participate in service? Is it the government’s responsibility to make sure everyone is taken care of?
3. Linking arms and learning to cross a river against the current as a big group.
4. Watching the process from start to finish as the students painted three murals in the entrance of the migrant school.
5. Watching a CISS student lift a little 10-year-old girl to slap her green handprints on the mural.