I started using adventure based outdoor programs with high school kids because they worked. There was nothing like mother nature to make you give up what you thought was important (self-pity), for what really mattered (where are we sleeping tonight? or who’s got the dinner bag?). There is nothing like seeing a young person grow and take on responsibilities through their own experiences and challenges. It is both amazing — out of every challenge, you could see growth, and rewarding — out of growth came resiliency.
The other day I was telling my colleague about my favorite quip when my students began to grumble — about school, about their families, about their lot in life, or about my class, or about me — was to say “What are you going to do? Take a knee?” Because, really what option did they have? Give up? Or move on? The student, usually looked at me with disbelief, maybe a bit of disdain, because, the student was thinking, “really, a football metaphor when I am dealing with my idiot parents?” Sure, as a retort it is a bit simplistic, but the message resonated with them. Today’s youth understand that sometimes, you just have to power through. What they don’t always understand is that on the other side of a crisis or challenge there is the silver lining that comes with all things difficult to overcome.
And here I am, digging into my own lifetime of experiences to find a new pathway for myself. Like all adventures, it is getting started that is the hardest step. Once going, the journey takes on a life of its own — but it is always the first step that trips us up.
So, here is my first step. I have owned the domain “Thinking Outside” for a while now, but couldn’t find the right combination of time and voice to launch it. Today, I have a place to make myself heard.
I am curious what you would like to hear about. Is it the value of using outdoor education to transform kids lives? Or what it’s like to be on the other side of the funding table? Or something completely different? Let me know.
Meanwhile, I am available to help you. Need any help?