Jin is the youngest brother of three boys. He doesn’t have any sisters or younger siblings. So the 3 mile hike along Rattlesnake Ridge was a special experience.

The objective of the challenging hike was to practice being a good sibling. The hikers, who were between 8-13 years old, were paired up as “siblings.” Jin was paired to a younger “sister”, a relationship he doesn’t get to try every day in his family. During the hike, the pairs were given tasks that encouraged them to consider the needs of their “sibling”.

For example, each sibling pair was allowed only one backpack. They had to share the responsibility of carrying the backpacks and also figure out how to coordinate water and snack breaks, because everything was in the shared backpack.

The hike started out in a cold spring rain which turned to snow near the top of the ridge. The total elevation gain was 3,481 feet. The shared challenge bonded the teams and made the best of the sibling pairs shine.

Jin made sure his “sister” stayed dry and hydrated. The pairs also found ways to encourage each other. Some pairs started games for everyone to play, making the hike fun. Others made it a point to smile and point out milestones along the way. One sibling pair, who are really siblings, joked at the end of the hike that they didn’t exchange any insults along the way.

core values academy new york & new jersey

The hike was an activity of the Core Values Academy, a weekly gathering hosted by local Family Peace Association chapters to support families in teaching important values and character traits to their children.

Outdoor challenge activities with a learning goal are great ways for families to zoom in on different areas of their relationships and character development. The shared challenge helps naturally build teamwork and relationships. The natural environment provides a classroom that can teach important lessons about God and the principles that govern His creation.

Would you like to try one with your family?

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a hike together as a family.
  • Go to the park and play a simple game of sports.
  • Go fishing together.
  • Talk a walk in the woods.

With each activity go through the following steps:

  • Before you start the activity ask every member set a goal that focuses on a particular relationship that they would like to develop. (Ex: Connect to God, Talk with mom, Respect dad, Think of my brother)
  • Plan 1-3 activities that will help remind the family about their goals. Some examples: During the hike, make one of the rest stops quiet time to observe nature and think about their goal. During the soccer game, make each person do one thing that will help accomplish their goal. At the middle point, verbally recite your goals to each other. At the end of the hike get some ice cream and reflect on the lessons learned. Make sure to write them down!