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Community, Camp Collins, and Comfort Zones

Community, Camp Collins, and Comfort Zones

So much of this time of year is devoted, implicitly and explicitly, to community building.  Following are some photos of what community building looks like in Opal 4.







This week, Opal 4 will travel to Camp Collins, a YMCA camp outside of Gresham, to immerse ourselves in a different kind of community building.

We have decided to look at our trip to Camp Collins as an amazing opportunity to explore our own comfort zones and what happens to us as we step outside of them.  As we climb up to 50 feet into the air, and have only our harnesses and classmates to support us, many of us will have the chance to be pushed outside of our comfort zones and see what support from our community will look and feel like.  We have started to develop some shared language around the idea of a comfort zone:

Levia:  All of us have what is called a comfort zone.  Your comfort zone is your set behaviors that you do without feeling anxious and without feeling like you’re taking a risk.  You are in your comfort zone when you are doing what you know you can do well.  How might you feel while you are in your comfort zone?

WK:  Things that make you happy.

AB:  You feel safe.

WK:  In your element.

JP:  Cozy.

EJ:  You know how to do it.

PG:  It’s what you know.

EJ:  Confident.

SD:  Convinced.

AA:  You feel unique because it’s different than anyone else’s.

JP:  In your own world.

Levia:  Just outside your comfort zone is this next area.  The name of this area surprised me.  Alasdair A. K. White, a behavioral psychologist, calls it, the Optimal Performance Zone.  Does that seem strange?  He says, “To step out of the comfort zone raises the anxiety level engendering a stress response, the result of which is an enhanced level of concentration and focus.”  So let’s think about that.  Is it true that a little bit of anxiety actually makes us a little bit stressed out which makes us better able to concentrate and focus?  How might you feel while you’re in the Optimal Performance Zone?

NF:  A place where you take chances.

AA:  I think if you’re in a place where you’ll take chances, you’ll perform best.

Matt:  That makes me think of Michael Phelps in the Olympics.  Sure, he could swim all of those races, but being in the Olympics and in competition raised the stakes for him and made him a little bit anxious.  It made him push harder.  Do you think that bit of stress helped him win so many medals?

SB-M:  It’s like state tests.

HH:  It makes you determined.

JP:  It’s like when Amy said that Westside School (could do the challenge) in 10 seconds.  It made our brains switch and focus.

SB-M:  Sometimes we can get too anxious and we can’t do it.

WK:  Well, that’s the other ring.

Levia:  Right, The Danger Zone, where ‘performance decreases rapidly.’


RC:  As soon as you do something outside the comfort zone, your comfort zone gets bigger.

AA:  Your comfort zone is like a seed and you’ll grow and branch out.

Looking forward to seeing what waits for us, our community and our comfort zones at Camp Collins!


September 19, 2012