On Sept. 30 principal Alva Holiday, social / physical education teacher Dave Robertson, some classmates and myself, all from West Country Outreach school left Rimbey to enjoy a beautiful three day trip to Frontier lodge, just outside of Nordegg.
During our stay we participated in canoeing, rappelling, hiking and an activity called “the traverse”. Early Tuesday morning everyone got packed up and ready to have a full day of excitement and fear facing. Travelling thirty minutes west of the lodge in a very tightly packed van, with thirteen of us huddled together was a small sacrifice we all had to pay, to reach our destination.
We were all very happy to get out and stretch our legs. Once we were out of the van we took a 15 minute hike to the cliff where we planned to traverse. When my classmates and I showed up, it caught me and I think a couple others off guard. It wasn’t at all what I expected.
It frightened me and made me quite nervous. To traverse means to be put into harness and get hooked up to a cable that goes from one side of a cliff to the other side and you are the one who has to pull yourself across.
In this case there was what seemed like a thousand feet between the cliff and the raging river below. A couple of girls went before me, then everyone turned to me and said “do it”.
I put on a harness and got hooked on and off I went. It’s funny, something that looked so scary and dangerous to me before, was one of the most fun and safest things I have ever done in my life.
After I was unhooked and out of my harness I began to think about how traversing incorporates many of the problems teens have to face in a figurative way. Many things are scary or make us nervous at first but with positive self-talk and positive role models around to strike up our confidence, its amazing what we can accomplish.
A lot of the times we feel stuck and don’t want to pull ourselves through it. We are afraid we might fall in a rut, but if we keep the thought in mind of what great and fulfilling things await us on the other side, we can begin to start pulling ourselves through.
Also, teens have a hard time trusting and have a hard time trying to rely on one person or one thing if they have to, but we have to remember that not everyone is the same.
I was able to get over the fact that there was nothing but air for a hundred feet below me, and pulled myself to the middle of the cable and flipped upside down trusting it would hold me.
Letting all my weight go was so freeing, and was a truly breathtaking experience. Grabbing hold of the cable again, I started pulling myself to the other side of the cliff, not thinking of the “what ifs”.
I reached the other side, let off a little joyful scream and zipped back to my classmates and teachers. The whole experience made me think that not only did I have to get over fear, pull myself, and have trust in something for that one activity, but I should have those positive problem solving thoughts with me every day.
Teens should put those three things to good use — pull yourself up, face your fears, trust others and yourself and know you can handle many issues with ease.