EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: The Kickoff and the (Unexpected) Kickout

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  Here is Lauren Beckman ’20 to explain how the trip started out and the morning workout.  

After our brief, yet highly eventful, travels with Dr. Vallery following behind what we thought was Mr. Call’s car followed by some EZPass issues and destination searching, we made it to our camp site lodging (aka shanty) and settled in. The shanty was quite spacious with four bedrooms, two with two bunk beds and two with two twin beds for any special guests, and two bathrooms to the left side of the gathering area and two bedrooms and one bathroom to the right. The gathering area had a kitchen where we EDIers attempted and successfully cooked meals together and a living room sort of set up. Outside the back door was a firepit and grill which provided many memories. But on the front porch and the grassy area just beyond that is where these odd materials laid… insulation and concrete and foam beads and vermiculite, plus durable foam sheets, plywood, plastic tupperware, and paddles. What exactly are we doing!?

Mr. Barton finally brings us together to tell us we’re making a concrete boat. He couldn’t be serious, yet he was! Now the task at hand was to see what ratios of different materials would be buoyant (no phones for research).

But with five growing teenagers trying to wrap each’s head around the fact that we were actually going to build a concrete boat, it figures we would be extremely hungry, especially after just making and mixing small batches of concrete by hand; therefore, we ate at a local seafood and burgers restaurant on the water, capturing some beautiful pictures and playing some cornhole. Upon finishing a scrumptious meal, we walked around to try some of Cape Charles’ best ice cream at Brown Dog Ice Cream (unfortunately it was closed by then, but we went on the last day and it was well worth it); therefore, we decided to walk on the beach, and we took some fun pictures at the “LOVE” sign with a fantastic sunset.

Then it was Day Three. The girls somewhat successfully pranked the guys. Some seemingly unreasonable hour brings the sounds of revenge with loud whistles, shouting, and “Eye of the Tiger” at full blast. What’s going on? Not revenge but Mr. Barton!? Yelling words about get up, be out on the porch in five minutes and um… WORKOUT!? Hold up! But with this came a competition: EDIers against the faculty, whoever loses makes breakfast and if the EDIers won, we got a head start on the concrete mixing in the cool early morning and didn’t have to make breakfast. The challenge: each of us run a lap and upon finishing that lap we complete ten burpees with the pushup and on the last lap the EDI ’20 cohort is to run together and complete the 10 burpees before we can be officially finished. Our advantage was being able to choose the order in which the faculty, Mr. Barton, Mr. Call, and Dr. Vallery, would run (each ran twice). The catch: all of us had to hold a plank until our turn and upon finishing our turn. At 5:15 in the morning? Yes.

Jogging up to the beach for a warm-up, we headed straight towards our fate right on the beach. Stretching. Set to plank. First student and teacher on the line. Ready, BANK! The first plank feels pretty good while the students take the lead. Ten burpees with the next student eager on the line. Faculty follows. EDIers are off, teachers just behind. This continues into the final lap, all of us worn out and exhausted; the lead has shifted from the EDIers to the teachers and back. We sprint. Keep it going. Ten final burpees. Faculty come in for the final burpees. Teamwork. Motivation. The students win!

We start heading back but not after a quick picture of us looking completely spent and watching the sun rise just over the beach.