A forced bonding doesn’t stick; changes must be made to Link Crew

September 9, 2009 — by Apeksha Sharma and Kyumin Shim

Link Crew is undoubtedly a great program for guiding freshmen through a very intimidating stage of their lives. Although the positives of Link are evident, the adjustments that need to be made to the program are equally obvious.

For starters, the program required four hours of training over the course of two days for Link leaders. In addition to that, the actual orientation called for Link leaders to be in the gym by 7:15 a.m. Although the advisers and commissioners expressed their sympathy and did their best to warm the Link leaders up, it was a bummer on the last day of summer vacation.

Within smaller groups of freshmen, Link leaders were to follow a program of games and activities, which were supposed to last for three hours. As could be expected, these activities went on for a mere one and a half hours, leaving Link leaders out of ideas to entertain their kids for the remainder of the time. The program should lessen these group times and add more large group games so that Link leaders and kids can get the best experience without losing interest. Perhaps watching a movie about the school or having some other bonding experience would also be a good use of time.

Another universally dreaded aspect of the Link Crew experience are the mandatory Wednesday tutorial sessions freshmen are required to attend for the first three weeks of their high school career. Even though it is important to teach the ninth-graders about using tutorials wisely, it is also important not to waste them with information that was mostly gone over during the initial get-together. Instead, the kids should meet with their leaders like they did on orientation day, but only for a few minutes to catch up on what they have been doing. That way kids can use their time wisely and those who still have questions can talk to the leaders.

As with anything that goes on too long, the bonding activities became redundant and the freshman became restless. The games were too childish and meaningless because most of the students already knew each other. When the freshmen and Link Leaders were put together, it was sometimes hard to forge connections because of the age differences.

There was an overall assumption that all freshmen were terror-stricken of attending high school. In reality, most of the were used to the idea of starting anew. Many of these students were once WEB leaders at their middle schools and knew the routine of orientation. So it seems a bit too much, getting them to know each other and telling them a few tips on surviving on school when they’ve already experienced it few years past. Not only do they feel a deja-vu but too often are treated like helpless children.

It was sometimes hard to forge bonds with the kids because leaders found that they all had different interests than their freshmen. The attempt of pairing students and leaders with common hobbies was not as successful as it could have been.

Yet programs like Link Crew are well worth having. Countless students attending other high schools have struggled to adjust while SHS students take Link for granted. Even so, Link Crew needs a bit of retooling to adjust to the realities of the transformation kids are actually going through.