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Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Berkshire Outdoor Center

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TESTIMONIALS & FEEDBACK

"Berkshire Outdoor Center understands the value of reaching back into under-served communities to provide its renowned service to all students, which is a truly unique facet of their outreach. Their engagement strategy is keenly framed around equity and opportunity, which is integral to the development of our students around college and career readiness, preparedness, and persistence. Their dedicated staff along with engaging programs, allowed our students, many of whom had never traveled outside of the South Bronx before, to experience life in a new way. As an educator, what I experienced firsthand on numerous occasions was both refreshing and enlightening. Our students were not only challenging themselves to be better individuals, but were enjoying every minute of it."

Bronx Academy of Letters, Bronx NY

"I don't even know how to begin to express the true extent of the value that the Berkshire Outdoor Center experience has had for the students of the Haley School. Teachers from the third and fourth grade levels often ask us what we do in fifth grade that causes such a change in attitude regarding students when they reach the fifth grade. We don't like to give away all of our secrets, but a lot of it can be attributed to their experiences at BOC. It truly begins from the moment they set foot off of the bus and realize that they have become part of an entirely different environment than that of their urban neighborhoods.

... It is also amazing to see how this carries over to the rest of the week and comes back to the classroom. One of the most touching moments at BOC is when I watched a female student comforting a young man who is autistic and was in distress at losing his place as a frog in the game Predator/Prey. In weeks previous to Berkshire, they never spoke or only had exchanges that were negative and even bullying. Now they have a relationship that is mutually respectful.

... By the time the day came for the students to take on the climbing of the high tower, they had learned to give positive reinforcement to one another and to cheer on all successes. One student is extremely afraid of heights. At first she just said no, she couldn't do it at all. Then she decided she was going to climb just a very small distance up the tower and that would be her goal. She reached that goal and then decided to give it one more try and go just a little further. Finally, she decided to try to make it halfway. With many students cheering her on and shouting words of encouragement, she reached that goal. She uses that new-found courage in the classroom now, weeks later, when she doubts her ability to conquer a difficult math problem or a tough reading question. She shared in her journal that now she believes that she can attempt new things even if it is a few steps at a time.

... As a teacher, it is so much easier to discuss the many components of the science curriculum when I can reference the students' first hand experiences throughout the year... This has made them hungry for more knowledge and has helped launch us into a wide variety of related discussions.

I have been coming to the Berkshire Outdoor Center with my fifth grade students for the last six or seven years. We come for four days and three nights and the amount of life skills, exposure to nature, team building, and overall experiences that take place during that relatively brief amount of time are of immeasurable value. I could never find a way to give my students access to all of that information in a truly understandable manner while teaching within four walls. I hope I am always able to provide this same opportunity to fifth grade students in the future."

Haley School, Boston MA

We had a tremendous teambuilding experience, full of energy with a committed staff determined to accommodate our every wish in a quality fashion. Every aspect was well planned and well executed."

Godiva Chocolatier CEO

"The staff did a great job with concise instruction, clear objectives, direct feedback and important debriefs."

Beaver Country Day School

"Teambuilding and the challenge course were great for creating unity and trust amongst the students. Our instructors were very clear, patient and provided ample opportunities for reflection, which was great!"

Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, Boston MA

"The quality of instructors is great; people seem to love working here."

Brandeis University, Boston MA

"Very sound program, educationally. The kids were kept busy in a very good way."

Williston Northampton School, Easthampton MA

"I expected a continual and extensive training incorporating the multiple intelligences of our diverse group. The activities successfully met these expectations. Each student was able to find their niche and expand themselves in one way or another."

Eastview Middle School, White Plains NY

"I liked the range of programs offered - from the challenge of the high ropes activities to the serenity of canoeing and nature walks. The staff were all knowledgeable, supportive and upbeat - even in the rainy weather yesterday."

Falmouth Academy, Falmouth MA

"Staff love their jobs and it shows. Their enthusiasm is contagious. The fabulous staff is the #1 reason why we return to this camp"

South Windsor Girl Scouts, South Windsor CT

"Our goal was for the students to share a real bonding experience that alters their everyday interactions in a positive, substantial and lasting way - this was fulfilled."

Kappa III School, Bronx NY

"We wanted our program to be well organized and create community and leadership and it went above and beyond."

New Canaan Country Day School, New Canaan CT

"My goals were to bond with students in a fun and safe environment and this was definitely fulfilled. I also wanted my advisory to practice teamwork and improve their skills in listening to each others' ideas - all our activities were wonderful for this."

Parker Charter School, Devens MA

"I expected forced ice-breakers and cheerleading counselors but the activities were genuinely enjoyable and our group leader was cool and relatable."

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer NY

"The staff were very thorough. They were clear about rules and safety issues and there was always someone watching out for the well-being of the guests."

Unitarian Society of New Haven Family Retreat, New Haven CT

"This program really went above and beyond my expectations and I had a lot of fun! I was really amazed at how much we bonded over the course of the activities."

Williams College "Leading Minds"Program, Williamstown MA

"I think all the programs -especially the high ropes - really rewarded the participants and gave a great spectrum of individual challenges and group challenges."

Williston Northampton School, Easthampton MA

"I was really pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. It was a good balance of teambuilding and work. Felt like the outdoor time cleared your mind to tackle the work issues."

Security Global Investors, New York NY

"Staff was able to redirect energetic teens without making them feel they were being punished."

Adoption Journeys, Florence MA

"Staff was very helpful and kind. Very flexible and accommodating."

Association of Experiential Education - North East Regional Conference - Staff

"The activities were very fun and definitely pushed the kids. The diversity of activities emphasized different strengths of the students, making it possible for kids to shine in different areas."

Boston Collegiate Charter School, Boston MA

"All activities were very well explained and run. Staff was also very helpful incorporating our own group goal within the rest of the program here."

Eagle Hill School, Hardwick MA

"While I was here I learned that I can come up with really creative ideas - I just need to be more vocal about them."

Eagle Hill School, Hardwick MA

"While I was here, I learned that I could step back and let others lead."

Eagle Hill School, Hardwick MA

"We did leadership training and teamwork initiatives during our program. The expectations were to push the kids physically, mentally and emotionally in a positive direction. The program ‘hit the nail on the head.'"

Sage School, Foxboro MA

"The kids loved the program, each enjoying different aspects. I think the progression of the programming was highly effective."

Sage School, Foxboro MA

"It's so great to come back here this weekend every winter. I love meeting new women and connecting with old friends."

Women's Wellness Weekend Fourth Year Attendee

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