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JAN. 29, 2015

Climb One Branch Higher

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Krista White, Camp Program Manager

I was recently inspired by this image I saw from artist Michael Penderson titled Five Ways to Use This Park.

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As I read his suggestions sitting at my desk in front of a computer screen, I could imagine doing all of those things. In fact I wanted to go outside right away, find a park and go for it. Suggestion one is my favorite, it recommends climbing a tree until you feel you have gone too far, then climb one branch higher before hugging said tree and surveying your surroundings for 15 minutes.  Imagine what you would see.  Imagine how you would feel to accept his challenge of climbing one branch higher.  Imagine sitting still in a tree for 15 minutes!

Think for a second about that challenge of climbing one branch higher.  There are some times in your life when you want to stop on the branch where you feel comfortable and hug the tree.  Why not?  It is high enough right?  By stopping early you may be denying yourself the opportunity of an unbelievable view, experience, and sense of accomplishment at overcoming a frightening challenge.

For some campers leaving camp for a Hante Adventure is just like leaving that lower branch.  You are nervous and excited about the adventure that Hiking the AT or Paddling the French Broad will bring, yet leaving the comfort of your cabin and the dining hall seems daunting.  I felt the same way before my first experience as an adventure camper.  I signed up for a rock climbing adventure week having only ever climbed at the climbing wall at my camp.  Would this adventure be the same camp experience that I loved? Would my counselors be able to bring what it is I love about camp on the trail with us?

The answer is yes! I had an amazing time with my “cabin” of boys and girls on the trip.  Spending hours climbing or in the van singing songs, talking, joking, laughing, and setting up camp in each new destination.  We created our own portable camp community complete with a custom flag for our trip.  My counselors and fellow campers made me feel encouraged and supported as I conquered my fear and climbed some really high climbs.

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Leaving the camp I was familiar with for an adventure session was a challenge, but I am so thankful that I dared to take the next step and experience the view from the top.

Krista White, Camp Program Manager