These past few days, the Waterloo SHADs have not been just sitting there. We jumped into the program, right from the onset. On our first day as SHADs, we were greeted with a seemingly impossible challenge: to design a system through which a marble would reach its desired location with a minimal amount of materials. However, at SHAD, every aspect of the program features a unique twist. In this particular situation, we had to ensure that the marble would arrive in its desired location at a set time - a whole 30 seconds later. While we were originally nervous when approaching this activity, we adopted the mindset that everything is impossible until someone steps up and accomplishes it. And 54 SHADs accomplished just that.
For one of our recreation activities, we played pool noodle hockey, which was completely new for all of us. If you don’t know what pool noodle hockey is, just take hockey, subtract the hockey sticks, replace them with pool noodles, and add a field full of goose droppings and 54 over-eager SHADs. Learning to play an entirely new sport on the spot with a team helped us to strengthen our bonds; it was a difficult process, but in the end, we discovered that it doesn’t matter if you looked ridiculous - because we all did.
On our second night in Waterloo, we were paired off into groups and given an hour to create a musical entertainment piece for Music Night. Many of us were nervous approaching the activity, and justifiably so. However, after the first few performances, our nerves began to settle. We got into the “rhythm” (get it?) of things because we were able to see all of our peers go up and be courageous in their own right. Moreover, this activity encouraged community team building because it was in the very first few days of the program and that allowed everyone to get to know each other and their skills. We all talk about building a “SHAD community” but you never really know its depth until you experience it. The performances in themselves were incredible, and if it wasn’t hard enough to prepare a group number in an hour, imagine only having 10 minutes to prepare a solo presentation, because guess what? That is exactly what happened next. Some people didn’t even have anything prepared and began composing on stage. One SHAD began with, “In the style of Chopin, I’m just going to make something up” while a duet began with “apparently we’re going to do something in the key of D.” If you don't believe the truly out-of-this-world talent we experienced, just call Stacey’s Mom and ask!
And of course, with Wicked talent comes Wicked problems. Just yesterday, the SHADs were given the Wicked design question, which we will be working on for the next two and a half weeks. This question allows the SHADs to explore solutions to the question “How might we help Canadian communities be more resilient in a natural disaster?“ Like SHAD Calgary pointed out, we’ve been learning design challenges, which us SHADs are very excited to use when approaching this problem.