On November 8th and 9th the Martha’s Vineyard Project Vine family set forth on a soul -searching retreat to find our greater purpose. 5 sophomores, 3 juniors and 4 seniors, as well as all four of our teachers, attended this blissful experience through some of nature’s finest trails.
There were songs by warm campfires, team building activities, and stories told from close to the heart to crack a smile on everyone’s chapped pale lips. From making our own food over a fire to survival challenges we all grew, not only as friends and family, but as a program.
This breakthrough event took place at Sassafras Campground located in Aquinnah. Hosted by Saskia & her husband David. David is a native to the land. He and his people, the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, have the most knowledge and love of that land and we were honored to experience it.
In my opinion, I strongly believe that this trip's purpose was not only to grow and expand our knowledge of real world survival, but to grow us as a program, as the family that we are. Some of us were new to the program, but through this amazing retreat we are all more closely together in spirit and mind. Now, we are as a whole. The love for each other is so remarkably amazing. That’s what our larger Nation is missing right now.
Lastly, my favorite part of this trip honestly was getting to know each and every individual in the program to their full extent, getting to know their likes and dislikes, what makes them crack a laugh or even what triggers distress. My love for this program is like a child’s love for candy. My loyalty to each and every person here is like a mother to her children. And my support to all is like a sister to a brother. Over the years this program has grown on me. This is my family, and to get to know each and every one a little better and bond over a warm fire while playing cards was definitely by far my favorite experience.
We have built bonds, so strong that we will carry them with us no matter where we go in life.
Some quotes from other program members about the experience at Sassafras:
"The overnight trip at Sassafras was a great experience for me. I personally had a lot of fun on the trip. I got to know everyone a little better and it was a good break from everyday life." –Henry Warner
“I really enjoyed this trip, and my favorite moments were building a survival shelter from scratch in the woods, and the activity which involved life savers.” –Faidra Hansen
“They sent me and Colby to get water from a stream that is running, and they said we had gotten the cleanest water in years. I think we went because all of our teachers thought it would be a good idea to have us unplug from our phones and the world.” Jason Rivers
“By far my favorite part was learning how to build a fire that lit quickly. I was amazed seeing how quickly the fire that our group built lit up.” – Dylan Wallace
“I thought it was great learning experience. My favorite memory was when we were doing the survival challenges when our host Saskia left us alone and let my group just figure things out on our own.” – Matthew Medeiros
“Some of the things I liked about this trip were that I could spend time with all these cool people. On the trip I got shy, and then afterwards I got talkative because I got comfortable with the people around me. I had a great time with everyone in the community and I had a great time out in the environment.” – Joshua Sampaio
“We all were split up into five groups to keep the site clean: fire crew, water crew, dish crew, food crew, and caretaking crew, which was a good experience because it pushed us to spend time with people we may have not been close with before the trip. It’s also just a very naturally spiritual place and it gives off good vibes. I really enjoyed going on the trip. I’m sure there’s a more official reason why we went, but my personal belief of why we went is so that we could all grow, experience, and spend time together as a family and not so much as just another class.” –Alia Schumann