January 14, 2011
By alisonmayer BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
alisonmayer BRONZE, Hartland, Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Each way I look, through the buckets of rain, I see trees. But, the trees can’t tell me which way to go. They don’t have magical arrows pointing to my destination. There is no path in front of me—leading me to the campsite. Just the trees. In my hand, is my map. In any normal situation, this map would be my saving grace. But not now. I am not anywhere near a trail. In fact, I have no idea where I am. I look back behind me through the trees. Those are my girls. I am their leader. They have been my responsibility for the past 2 weeks. Right now though, they are different, they are vulnerable. I am most concerned with the looks on their faces. Tears. Scrapes. Fatigue. I need to keep going, they are counting on me. I will find this campsite.

Flashback to thirty minutes ago—we were floating down the creek. We were laughing and joking. Two girls per canoe, taking on the rapids together. As we looked all around, it was beautiful. The sun was radiating. It was as if the wildlife was putting on a private show just for us. My eight campers were put in awe by the eagle that flew overhead and the various fish that swam beneath us. I adored watching them soak in the serenity. They were calm and relaxed. Whew. Deep breath. Everything is going just as planned. Maybe I can really do this.

East. That’s the way I need to go. I know it. I can feel it. My co-counselor trusts me. She lets me follow my instinct to go east. I am leading us through. As the bush whacking continues, the girls get less adventurous about the trip and more scared. It is all I can do to keep myself from letting them see those same feelings budding inside of me. The rain is still coming down like a jammed faucet. It seems as though this flow will never stop. I need to encourage these girls to keep pushing themselves.

“When we get there everyone gets Oreos!” As I look at their faces they seem barely fazed. That didn’t work. “You girls are strong young women, challenge yourself to continue on. Prove to yourself that you can handle this. I have no doubt in my mind that you can.” We pick up our pace. The complaining is diminished, and crying lessened to whimpering. Then to the right—an opening in the trees. The thickness of the trees seems to be dwindling. We scream cheers of excitement and sighs of relief. We start running despite the heavy packs on our backs. There, before us, after hours of canoeing and roughing through the forest—our campsite.

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