A quick student update:
Whitewater rafting was… how should I say… AWESOME! We rafted class 1, 2, and 3 rapids on our first rafting adventure. It was incredibly exciting, especially the class 3! One boat even tipped over, bouncing everyone from their seats. We quickly pulled all the fallen rafters back in, and everyone had smiles on their faces! The next day, everyone woke up early so that we could hike and summit Flattop Mountain. Every person in each of the three groups made it to the top. Near the top, there was a snowy patch, and we got to build a snowman and have a snowball fight in the middle of August! When we got back down to the base of the mountain, we headed back to camp and enjoyed some down time.
And now a few words from Dock…
Almost every trip at Adventure Treks climbs a big mountain. It’s typically a highlight of the trip and serves many functions in our program. Without a doubt, it becomes fodder for many college essays and has helped numerous AT students get accepted into great colleges.
The day is designed to be fun and one that will be remembered long after your child has returned home. Most important, our instructors focus on creating an environment where it is OK not to make the summit. Instead, a focus is put onto what students have accomplished, and the effort and commitment it requires to even begin a climb!
Besides the joy of a very special day, here are a few things we hope our students will take away from their mountain climbing experience.
Sense of Accomplishment – every kid should stand atop a mountain on a beautiful day, proud that they are there as a result of their hard work, resilience and perseverance. Unlike a scenic roadside stop, views are sweeter when they are earned. We hope your child reflects on their mountaineering experience with genuine pride about the hard work that went into their day.
Confidence – Lets face it, when you see stand at the bottom of a huge mountain, it’s intimidating. When our student’s summit a mountain, or just make it farther than they thought possible, they have every reason to be proud of themselves. Small accomplishments lay the groundwork for larger ones. We hope the mountain will become a metaphor your child will use when facing other challenges in life. We hope they become more open to taking on challenges that might have once been considered intimidating.
Teamwork – we don’t climb a mountain by ourselves. We match our summit teams carefully hoping to create a dynamic where friends cheer each other on. We take turns leading and create a mindset that we are all in this together and we succeed or fail as a group. The camaraderie of the experience and the shared encouragement makes the experience all the more successful and rewarding. Friendships solidified on the mountain stick long beyond the trip.
Baby Steps – Climbing a mountain is intimidating. When taken in all in at once, it can be overwhelming. But you climb a mountain one step at a time. Through hard work and by constantly moving forward, you accomplish great things. Sometimes it feels like for every two steps forward you take a step back, but that is also true in life. We believe the mountaineering experience can be useful when other challenges seem daunting as our students learn they can break big goals into small steps.
Hard Work Can Be Fun. – Let’s face it – hiking uphill is generally not the highlight of our trips, it is the atmosphere that is created by our staff and students that makes the experience so memorable. Climbing a mountain is often type 2 fun (something that might be difficult at the time, but becomes fun in retrospect). That being said, this is a day your child will remember forever and despite the challenge and hard work, I think it will be re-lived as a very exciting and special experience. Learning that a good time doesn’t have to be a passive experience like entertainment is a valuable lesson.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance – Our students notice that much thought goes into planning our day(s) on the mountain. We schedule our ascent later in our trip so we can be in our best possible shape before we climb the mountain. We bring the appropriate equipment, know our routes, are constantly aware of weather and safety concerns, have a backup plan, pace ourselves, and start hydrating the day before. Proper planning not only increases our ability to manage risk but also increases our chances of success. We hope our thoroughness underlines the message that if you want to increase your chances of being successful, do your homework and prepare properly.
Immersion In Nature – the view from the mountain is incredible, even if you do not make it to the top, and there is something about witnessing a magnificent view earned solely as a reward for effort. When shared with those who have also felt your pain, strength, and laughter, the day becomes all the more special. We hope the breathtaking views from a climbing experience will strengthen the connection and appreciation with nature we have been fostering throughout the trip.