Well, the July/August trip has come and gone and it was a tremendous success. We had three students, two therapists, and a guide on this trip which meant that we had a wide variety of personalities and that made for a fun-filled trip!
We started the trip by paddling on the Shenandoah River and although the water level was low, we still managed to find some good swimming holes complete with rope swings to cool off when we got a bit too warm. We also ran a couple rapids which everyone loved. Being unaccustomed to being out in the woods, some of the guys got a bit nervous when we saw a couple of non-venomous snakes at one of our campsites. We tried telling them that the snakes were more scared of them than they were of the snakes but they weren’t buying it!
After paddling, we went backpacking in one of the most beautiful parts of West Virginia. The scenery was amazing and looked like something from out west. We had a little bit of stormy weather but fortunately it mostly happened at night when our camp was already set up. It’s nice when things work out like that.
While we were backpacking, the students really did a lot of good work writing in their journals, reflecting on their experiences, and sharing their life stories with the group. They definitely came closer together during this time and learned from each other which was really powerful. They also exhibited some leadership skills that they hadn’t really had before.
When we moved into rock climbing, the students really pushed themselves hard. It was so great to see how each of them, when faced with a climb they couldn’t make, came back to it later and made it all the way to the top of the cliff. It was cool seeing them beam with pride for having been able to overcome their mental and physical challenges. Here they truly showed new confidence in themselves.
Here’s hoping that the students on the September trip are as successful as this group was and that they have just as much fun!