Opening Day: Welcome to Adventure Treks!

wpdev20 Jul, 2016


A quick update from Regional Director Josh: As a regional director, opening day is one of my favorite days. Although it’s often a scary day for our students, it’s great to see the trip come together for the first time. I met our first two students who arrived early from Europe yesterday, who were excited but a bit jetlagged.

Today, I got to greet our students as they arrived at thePortland airport, and it was great to see how excited everyone was. After about 12 of our students arrived I took them to a park where we played some games and had fun while waiting for the rest of the students to arrive. When we were all together, we ate some pizza and I passed on some words of wisdom about how to have a great experience, and also expectations for the trip. Everybody seemed very receptive, and before long the trip was on their way!

Today they’ll be driving up to Lake Sylvia State Park farther north in Washington, where they will stay for the next two nights. One of our Instructors, Brett, stayed behind to set up camp for everyone and cook a welcome dinner of steak, chicken, fruit salad and potatoes. It’s our way of easing fears about food, and we call it “Yahoo dinner”. We’ll do our best to put folks to bed early tonight as some people are operating on East Coast time. Tomorrow will consist of some team building, day hiking, and getting ready to go backpacking on the Olympic Coast!

Thanks for sending us great students! I’ll be spending a good bit of time on this trip, and I’m excited to get to see this community grow.

And now a few words from Dock…

Your child is finally at Adventure Treks! The airport day went as smoothly as one can expect when two dozen students arrive from all over the country, and now the adventure begins!

We’d like to thank you for the privilege of sharing your teen with us for the next few weeks. We fully understand the responsibility of keeping your child safe, and we won’t take this responsibility lightly.

We’re excited to be a small part in your parenting process. We expect your teenager to have a lot of fun at Adventure Treks, to see and do incredible things, and to make great friends. We are also hoping to make this a learning and growing experience, so your son or daughter returns home having the best, most growth-filled summer of his or her life.

As parents, we can’t give our children independence, self-esteem, or resilience. We can only place them in situations where they can develop it on their own. We want Adventure Treks to be one of those opportunities. We hope to be a “second family”—a home away from home with people who support your values but create space for your child to reach out, step out of his/her comfort zone, and become more independent. Adventure Treks is a great place to gain social confidence and a belief in one’s abilities and capacities. We greatly appreciate your support as we focus our energies on your child. Adventure Treks is designed to support our students and instructors first, and our families at home second.

On the home front, it’s common for parents to go through a range of emotions when their child leaves for camp. Believe it or not, psychologists have identified six steps that you may go through. They are:

    1. Worry
    2. Overcompensation (this means staying hyper-busy with extra work, or just cleaning the house 20 times a day)
    3. Loneliness
    4. Indulgence (eating a lot of brownies)
    5. Guilt (remember, Adventure Treks is just about the best thing you can do for your child)
    6. Serenity

Our goal is for you to get to stage 6 as quickly as possible. Let’s face it: You work hard, and you have raised a great kid. Kids need breaks from their parents, but parents also need a break from their kids. It’s healthy for everybody! We hope you will spend the next few weeks enjoying yourself and doing some things you are normally too busy to do. This is going to be an enriching time for your child. It should be one for you, too. (Sorry… We don’t run Adventure Treks for adults!) Right now, your child is our responsibility. Enjoy the break; your child will be home before you know it, tan, and standing a little taller having grown through new experiences.

Please remember: No news is good news! We will try hard to keep you informed of your child’s adventures through Treks Checks, but know our first priority is always making sure that our students are safe and having the times of their lives.

– John “Dock” Dockendorf, executive director


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