I climbed to the top of Mt. Adams with some class mates of mine from Gonzaga this last weekend. It was an amazing experience. All summer long we studied the concepts of hardiness and resiliency focusing first on how these concepts applied to ourselves, then to others, then looking for trends to help each of us increase our own levels within ourselves and in our organizations. The course taught me a lot about myself and about how to influence others positively, but the actual climb spoke volumes to the course content. Early on we had to rearrange the teams because a few of our group members had reached their limit. I can only imagine how hard it was for them to turn back, but when we returned to camp later that weekend, they had cold beverages waiting for us and they treated us with profound kindness. The embodied true resiliency. One of the girls had problems with her feet and shins early on in the climb, but she battled through it and eventually reached the top. Anyone who hikes or climbs knows how negatively foot problems can influence a trip, but in a spirit of hardiness she grinned and bore it valiantly. One of the guys from our group had a fear of heights, but he struggled through it and pushed through to the top never faltering in his resolve to be successful. Finally one girl stopped just short of the final summit. She pushed herself to her limit and had a smile on her face at the end of the day. Each person on this trip strengthened me and I feel very blessed to have been on this trip and to have made so many great new friends.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Today I met a friend of mine from the Coast Guard and a group of her friends at Discovery Park for Shakespeare in the Park and we watched Antony and Cleopatra. It was a wonderful rendition of a great story and I loved sitting out in the sunshine at the park. I couldn't help but think about how this was a remarkable way to spend a day and how each day of my trip has been fabulous despite the airline losing one of my bags. I attribute a great deal of this to some of the things I have been learning in class. I didn't fret over the lost bag and have put the idea of envisioning the worst case scenario (not getting the bag back) and also thinking about the best case scenario (getting the bag back) and contemplating the likelihood of either of those situations. It helped me to realize that either way I am spending some time visiting great people I don't get to see very often en route to a climbing trip that I am positive is going to be an amazing experience for me. We finished the evening by traveling to some other friend's apartment that has a rooftop BBQ area for tenants and had a fantastic Sunday Dinner and enjoyed some wonderful conversation. I had a great day and made a bunch of new Coast Guard friends. All of this has me very excited to see what the rest of the week has in store.
I arrived in Seattle late on Friday night and took off on an epic journey. I accompanied my brother and his friend out past Wenatchee to help his friend load his moving truck. We woke up early and loaded the truck up and then ventured off to one of my favorite spots from my own childhood. I used to go to summer camp at Lake Wenatchee every year and I love passing through Leavenworth and then spending time at the lake. We stopped in Leavenworth and stocked up on some supplies and then headed off to the lake. My good friend Pat was going to meet us there but he was stuck in traffic, so we decided to see if we could some how find a camping spot to be able to stay the night since we would be starting our hike so late. We lucked out and got the last spot at Glacierview campground and it happened to be an amazing site right on the lake looking up at Dirty Face, our intended hike. I have hiked it several times in the past but Kyle and Pat had never attempted it. It is a 9 mile hike round trip that gains 4000ft of elevation on the way up, so it averages almost a 1000ft a mile on the way up. I love it, but they complained a lot, until we got to the top and they saw the majestic views. It was swarming with bugs, but the vantage point is so captivating we did not care. We completed the hike at a brisk pace of 4 1/2 hours which was far better than our goal and the listed average time. As we sat in the frigid lake afterward, Pat expressed great satisfaction in our accomplishment and set a goal to bring others there to experience this great place. We then enjoyed a great night around the campfire!
On Friday I headed off to the airport to begin my journey to Washington State to go climb Mt. Adams. I barely made my flight and was a little worried about my luggage making it on board since it had all my climbing gear in it. During my layover in Denver my flight was canceled due to mechanical failure on our scheduled plane. I then spent a couple of hours in the customer service line waiting to see what my new travel arrangements would be. I was told the earliest confirmed flight I could get was Sunday morning. They listed me on some standby flights, but I had already decided to make the most of it and find a place to enjoy some higher altitude since that is why I was heading out to Washington a week early. I then decided to see if I could make the last flight on Friday night and if I didn't I was going to enjoy the city and not stress about my circumstances. I was the last standby passenger to be accepted onto the flight and as I was boarding I checked my phone and discovered that some distant family & a good friend who lived in Denver wanted to spend the day together if I was stuck there. I was a little sad to be boarding once I discovered this, but was glad that I was prepared to have fun regardless of my circumstances. Once I landed in Seattle I learned that the airline had misplaced one of my bags, but the bag with all my climbing gear had safely arrived. Now I am just missing all my clothes and my climbing boots. Hopefully it will arrive soon, but I will enjoy this trip regardless of the things that come up along the way.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I spent the weekend as a chaperon for a church youth conference. I was not originally planning on being one of the chaperons, but a lack of volunteers made me change my plans. I was a little bitter that nobody else stepped up for these young people and as we sat down that night for our chaperon meeting, the director commented that he knew we had all had busy lives and had made sacrifices to be there, but that this was the best place we could be for these young people. I let that thought destroy any notion of bitterness that I had and allowed it set the stage for a wonderful weekend. The theme is based on our faith's 13 article of faith:
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
As I listened to the workshops the youth attended and the counsel they received to help them seek after these things, I was strengthened in my own resolve to seek after these things. I enjoyed this trip so very much and cherish every opportunity I have to encourage and strengthen the youth. I thought about how all the thoughts that were shared during that conference help encourage hardiness in these young people. One talk focused on adversity and how every trial in our lives prepares us for something and strengthens us. Another focused on surrounding yourself with people who will not allow you to be mediocre. A third focused on knowing who you are. The keynote address talked about actively choosing to seek after the good things listed in the 13th article of faith. Leaving that conference I felt confident that each of those young people had been better prepared to face the world, I know that I deeply edified!
I have had an member of my team who has had severe struggles over the last 6 months and it has been a serious challenge as the rest of our team has attempted to help him deal with his problems and progress professionally. Some days it felt as though we were making progress, but in the end I felt as though we had not provided him with all the help he needed. I had a realization as we were helped him load his moving truck that he lacked Hardiness in every category. He constantly viewed everything he faced in life from a position of it was out of his control. He avoided any form of a challenge and most preferred being told exactly what to do and how to do it. In the end, even his commitment falter and this was the one attribute that had been high when I first met him. His lack of hardiness made the stress of the move more than he could handle and another team member and myself (his two supervisors) had to load his entire house into a truck by ourselves. As I worked, I found myself wondering if it were just impossible for some people to develop hardy attitudes. We had spent countless hours working with him and trying to help him develop personally, but I truly feel as though we failed and am left wondering what I could do differently if ever placed in a similar situation?
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I spent the entire week outside of Cleveland, TN on a Boy Scout Venture Crew summer camp. We spent Monday driving the 8 hours to our camp location with a stop at Wal-Mart to pick up our groceries. Grocery shopping with eight 16-18 year olds was a very interesting experience! Our first day we mountain biked 8 1/2 miles on an intermediate mountain bike trail and most of the boys crashed, with one boy crashing 6 times. This day we learned the importance of choosing a path and sticking to it, which we applied to life and enduring through trials. The second day we learned some map reading skills and got in our kayaks and split up into teams of two to see who could navigate the 9 points we were given and return. It was fun watching the boys learn from their mistakes and have fun out on the water. We learned the importance of having a plan and a road map in our life's journey and talk about how our spiritual map is the scriptures and we can check our spiritual compass through prayer to make sure we are on the right path. The third day was spent riding the Ocoee River in rafts with a guide. We had a lot of fun on the rapids and learned that sometimes life can be calm and at others it can be very rough, but sometimes the rough times in life can be fun. The fourth day we got a chance to become the guide on the river and practice some white water swimming, rescuing, flipping the rafts, and we all got multiple turns as guide on the river. We all eventually guided down a class 4 rapid successfully. This experience we related to how we first learn how to navigate our own lives and then we can help others navigate the waters of life. I got some good runs in during the quiet morning hours to stay on my training plan and we played a lot of volleyball, some ultimate frisbee, and there was a lot of swimming after the daily activities. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot, but the best part for me was watching the boys gain some confidence, overcome some of their fears and come together as a team. I saw some great examples of Hardy attitudes this week and it kept the reading I was doing in the forefront of my mind.