Everyone experiences some type of fear at one time or another in their lives. How we deal with that fear and how we learn from it can be two determining factors in the direction our lives ultimately take. For this reason, Arrow Heart Adventure Camps believes in challenging our campers to face their fears and learn how overcome them.
This month, we asked our team to face their fear of heights and work together to complete the high ropes course “Figure 8 Challenge”. Campers had to traverse a variety of challenging stages ranging from an unstable balance beam, to a hanging cargo net, to a myriad of difficult unsteady rope challenges suspended twenty feet above the floor. To add another degree of difficulty, the kids were bound by a bandana at the wrist, or ankle depending on each pair’s choice. Our campers had to utilize their critical thinking and communication skills in an effort work together in completing the course.
It is amazing how excitement and zeal, while on the ground, changed quickly to anxiety and doubt. Climbing ahead of the campers, so I could coach, encourage and assist (if necessary), I watched our kids begin to question themselves and their abilities. A teaching moment was presenting itself quickly, and in a bold way. We reminded them about previous lessons of perseverance and character and how quitting when times get difficult makes for a poor life-path. The responses to how they handled the situation varied, but the result was the same; the campers quelled their uncertainty and worked together to overcome the selected challenges.
There was a wide array of ways in which the campers traversed the ropes course. From one who was flying around like he had been born into the Wallenda family, to two others who were experiencing a paralyzing terror over being so high above the ground. In both extremes, we had the fortune to witness amazing growth.
Our ‘free-flyer’ was teamed with a camper who made a valiant effort to move from station to station, but finally succumbed to his dread and did not want to leave the transfer platforms he had reached. After a while, we allowed the two young men to untie themselves so we could coach our troubled camper through his fear. As we were doing so, our free-flyer went back around the course offering encouragement and advice to his teammates. If you understood this camper’s background, you would appreciate what a powerful moment this was for him to focus on helping others and less about what he was doing for himself. I was extremely proud of him.
Meanwhile, the two campers who were having difficulties battling their fear; finding it impossible to muster up the fortitude to continue on, required reassurance and coaching. It became a challenging period of time for both coaches and campers. Fortunately, using a combination of the 6 C’s of Leadership led to the successful completion of the course by both young men. The compassion by the rest of the team to support their fellow campers while they were completing the obstacles touched all of our hearts.
As we reflected on the day during lunch, all of the campers expressed their feelings of exasperation while on the ropes course, but they experienced a greater sense of inner-pride for completing such a challenging event. They also continued to show tremendous growth in improving their character, commitment, communication, critical thinking, credibility and compassion skills. All six elements were boldly displayed throughout the day. All-in-all, the campers and coaches of Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps had an amazing time.
Until next month…Happy Trails,