2016 LAS RETREAT

A couple weekends ago I had the amazing opportunity to pack up and head out to Eagle Village in Hersey, Michigan along with my cohort and our mentors. I was so excited to spend the weekend getting to know my mentor and peers better and couldn’t wait to see what fun activities were planned. After getting settled in our rooms, introducing ourselves to our group, and playing in the rain it was time to hit the high ropes course. I’ve never been one to be afraid of heights or climbing, but I’m not a huge fan of high ropes either. The last time I went up in a course was 6th grade camp. Standing still with my harness and helmet secured, I gazed up at the course with an open mind and a positive attitude feeling somewhat prepared and confident I could conquer it. That was until I was halfway up the ladder. My body tensed up as I realized this was going to be a bigger challenge than I expected. My mentor, James, was already at the top waiting for me, cheering me on. When I finally reached the top and looked around at all the different paths to take I started limiting myself to only a few I thought I could do. I told myself that if I could just go through a couple elements and get down everything would be fine. James had a different plan. I told him he could go on without me but he assured me we would accomplish it together. He pushed me to at least try five elements and encouraged me each step of the way. When our time was up I was going to take the easy way out and climb down the ladder instead of jumping off like all the crazy people do. I should have known James wasn’t going to let me do that either. I stepped out to the edge of the plank and glanced at James’ smiling face, thinking I couldn’t believe he talked me into this. It took everything within me to take that step off the plank but once I was in the air looking down at my friends it was so worth it. And to be honest, it was actually the best part of the course.

Looking back at the high ropes course I realized that there are going to obstacles in my life that I will have to overcome and taking the easy way out is not going to be an option. But, I wont have to overcome the obstacle alone either. Having a strong support system can make any difficulty possible and it isn’t shameful to depend on them for help. I am so grateful for LAS and all of the encouragement they provide. Knowing that there are so many people offering their support helps me feel assured that I can succeed in any situation.

Later that afternoon, James and I had the opportunity to go on a canoe trip with about 30 other mentees/mentors. I was so ready to get out on the water and enjoy nature at its finest. About an hour and a half into the trip, after belting the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody and racing the others with our H.M.S. Star Streamer (naming credit goes to James), the sun started to set and it became increasingly harder to see where we were rowing. We still had a long ways to go before we reached the pick up site. Just when we all thought we were in the clear, a few rain droplets quickly turned into a massive downpour. James and I didn’t mind getting completely soaked, in fact, it made our adventure 10 times more exciting. There was even a point when James and I had to get out of the canoe and, with both feet in the river, get our canoe unstuck. I should’ve thought that through a little bit more considering I only brought one pair of socks and shoes for the entire weekend. Despite trying to canoe through the shallow, rocky river in the dark and pouring rain, we all got back to the campground safely. Although there were a few people who did not like the outcome of the canoe trip, it was the highlight of my weekend. It reminded me to always make the best out of every situation and that positivity can overpower negativity. At the end of the night we all gathered around a campfire and shared stories about our day. It was so good to hear everyone share how they were challenged in some way or what they learned during a certain activity. It was amazing to see how close we all became in just a couple days. The retreat was overall a great weekend full of challenges, successes, and fun. Until next year Eagle Village!

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