We remain in full swing at Adventure Treks. Our twelfth school program of the fall is in the woods. We have two more programs next week. It’s been non-stop since May and I will admit, all of us are excited for November and the chance to take some personal time, but we still have work to do.
On Monday, we received a wonderful letter from a summer 2011 student. She had wanted to break the cheerleader prism from which she felt others viewed her, so she joined us last summer in British Columbia. She did an outstanding job on her trip and this success was wonderfully reinforced by her letter. In it she stated that she has brought back from Adventure Treks a willingness to push herself in every new challenge she entertains. She never wants to miss the most “beautiful view in the world,” and she now realizes that the “beautiful view” comes as a result of the hard work invested in “gaining the summit.” Having already encountered snow in July, bird-sized mosquitoes, huge rapids, and heavy backpacks, our student notes that school challenges she once regarded as insurmountable are now easily overcome with a little perseverance and diligence.
On Tuesday, I used the theme from her letter to welcome 48, 8th graders from Atlanta as they embarked from their bus into the middle of Pisgah Forest, NC. It was a brilliantly sunny and warm day in the midst of perfect fall foliage. Knowing the weather forecast, I prepped them for the imminent adversity they would soon face. 36 hours, almost 2 inches of rain and a 30 degree temperature drop and, we had all the ingredients necessary to strengthen a school community, enhance life-long friendships and build a little resilience! Or we would have 48 cold, miserable, tired and wet children facing the shared worst experience of their lives! These are the times where we know that the leadership of our instructors makes all the difference. This is the time when character counts and a strong personal example makes all the difference.
In retrospect, my greatest learning experiences as a kid were the times which weren’t easy or fun, and things didn’t go as planned. I remember endless portages, sleeping with two inches of water in the bottom of my tent, and bushwhacking up the side of a mountain with no idea where the trail was. All these “disasters” facilitated my current work ethic and character. I hope the experiences we are facilitating today are ones our students will find to be productive down the road.
As a parent, I often find myself wanting to make things always easy and fun for my kids. It’s hard to not want this but I also realize that this is doing them a disservice. How hard to push? When do we pull the plug? (This school group will be spending tomorrow night at a facility with warm showers and lots of hot chocolate –instead of the camp site they were scheduled for.) This is the delicate balance we grapple with as we make decisions with uncertain conditions. It’s what makes Adventure Treks more art than science and the reason we all love what we do.
Thanks for being part of our community. Our 2012 schedule and a new video will be released tomorrow. Look for an email from us with details.