Ever wonder what it’s like helping a young teenager gain some Aha! moments & insights out in a hot desert of southwestern United States? I was a wilderness staff in Southern Utah many years ago. This was one of the best jobs I had after I finished a 2yr Assoc. degree; to work outdoors for a week, be out in nature dealing with only what matters most, and helping youth.
This was my Best Catalyst! A perfect stepping stone & inspiration to knowing what kind of career I wanted; to experience helping youth/students learn their strengths, their weakness, and their abilities and the their potential!
So as we (staff) guided the students thru the desert, we were given a bag of random supplies and took time to do activities with them. It was so eye opening to myself as I helped facilitate these activities.
I remember a very meaningful game; ‘Ringing Bells’. 1 student or staff held a bell and rang it consistently, staying in the same spot. Meanwhile, 3 others would each ring a bell randomly and wander around. We instructed the students, who were blindfolded, to listen, find, & search for someone or something they can depend on. So they wandered, paused, & some weren’t sure which way to go. But eventually most of them found the consistent & dependable ring. Then we had good discussions. Who was always there? Who never wavered in their integrity or their standards or character? Where was there always a safe environment to go to? … It wasn’t always the loudest person, or closest in proximity, nor was it always the most interesting/intriguing person around... in life... The students had a moment to reflect who in life was or had been the most steady or consistent person to depend on. Good discussion and conversations about this helped the students realize who in life they could always depend on!
I had the opportunity to experience the high ropes & low ropes course right along with the students after a short stint in the desert. It’s interesting to think of the contrast with various activities we did; how easy it is to “Flip the bird” by throwing a rubber chicken to your teammates in a silly game vs. standing on the ‘Pamper Pole’ 30 ft. off the ground, telling your fears and feelings about the struggles in your family or negative environment that influenced your recent decisions.
Getting to the truth, the reality of what is behind your thoughts, your actions and your behavior; the real reason why the students are where they are right then was so powerful.
It was so meaningful & eye opening.
I loved it! This is what I wanted to do. I wanted to facilitate these activities with youth, or adults; to allow them to experience vulnerability & trust, better communication, & problem solving, & thinking outside the box, and especially recognizing their self-worth. It’s so awesome when a student stretches them self beyond their limits & accomplishes more than what they believed, and they finally realize their capabilities…aahh…the choir sings!!