One night a group of sophomores, flashlights in hand, venture out into the dark, jump into a pond of icy water, and begin their search.

The object: frogs, to be contestants in the frog race the next day.

This was just one of the activities the sophomores had a chance to do on their new trip to Greenhorn Ranch in Quincy, Calif.

But how does one catch a frog? Well, the sophomores used flashlight beams to stun the amphibians and then just reached into the water and grabbed them.

“C.J. (the activities director) caught like 20 frogs. He was knee-deep in an ice-cold pond at 10 p.m.,”  sophomore Alex Bushberg said.

The next day teams of two claimed their own frog that they then released and encouraged to victory.

“We weren’t allowed to touch the frogs during the race. We could only hit the ground behind them or kiss them (beforehand) or shout at them,”  sophomore Clare Fina said.

The main trip activity, however, was horseback riding.

The first day the sophomores learned about horses. Every day after that, they spent time riding in a corral and on trails.

According to sophomore Erin Reddy, they also learned how to halter and lead a horse and practiced maneuvering around obstacles such as barrels.

“I enjoyed getting to be around the horses and riding them,” Reddy said. “But I wish we could have done more advanced rides with more interaction between the rider and the horse.”

Other favorite activities included a giant water balloon fight and sitting around a campfire singing and making s’mores.

The trip also included night activities, like karaoke, and free time for fishing, foosball, pingpong, pool, horseshoes, cards, volleyball or softball.

“It was awesome because there were a lot of options of things we could do, but we weren’t being forced to do them,” Reddy said.

Bushberg  said that this trip was his favorite so far of all the school trips since fifth grade.

“The activities were different and new,” he said. “It wasn’t just hiking.”

The students stayed on the ranch in two cabins, each with four rooms that housed about five people.

“It was pretty comfortable,” Fina said. “There was heating and air conditioning, so it was more civilized (than camping).”

According to chaperone Brooke Wells, the teachers are thinking of making this a permanent change.

“One of the only points of negative feedback was that there were too many activities,” Wells said.

Wells also said that it’s more convenient to be in sync with the other class trips. The sophomores used to come home on Saturday instead of Friday because Friday and Saturday were the only days they could raft.

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