Ralph had asked the SNAP® Team if we would be interested in taking the SNAP® youth on an overnight camping trip last summer. After some discussion and planning, we decided it would be a great adventure for the youth and open their world to new experiences. That is exactly the outcome that we got last week. It was a huge success and taught the youth truly valuable lessons about challenging yourself, stepping outside your comfort zone and allowing yourself to be uncomfortable in order to find deeper meaning in experiences.
We were able to take 4 boys and 4 girls on the overnight trip in our 9-11 age group. The youth were very excited but were also cautious about the unknown and asked lots of questions about what to expect. As soon as we arrived, we jumped into zip lining. As we expected, some youth jumped right into the challenge and some were unsure. One youth in particular was scared and declared not to be involved. We let her watch a few people go, and suddenly she said “I’m going to do it!” She put a harness on and walked up the 2 flights of wooden stairs to the launch point. She was so scared but challenged herself. As she jumped off into the open, she screamed the whole way to the other end of the zip line. We were sure she had enough – lo and behold, she was ready for more. She had a grin ear to ear as we told her how much fun it can be to challenge yourself when you’re not sure.
Our youth can struggle with self-esteem and confidence while they learn to push themselves to try new things. As we engaged in archery and shooting b-b guns, the struggles of the youth became glaring to us as they wanted to give up and have negative self-talk. With a little encouragement, we were able to help them push passed it and focus on the skill set. We stepped back to watch them fill with excitement as they started to master a new skill. We were able to reinforce that they we always encounter difficult tasks and that with a little patience and positive self-talk, they can achieve a lot.
We finished the night out with a steak dinner, an exciting game of volleyball, followed up by campfire at dusk. S’mores were the highlight of the activity with sticky faces and lots of marshmallows in flames. A few scary stories got the kids ready for bed with a final scare by Ralph in the dark – nice one Ralph, they went screaming back to camp!
A special thanks to Ralph for putting this trip together for us. Everything was planned perfectly, ready to go, and smooth sailing. Ralph was excellent with the SNAP® youth with encouraging them to be comfortable and telling lots of great stories to keep their interest. Thank you to our SNAP® team for all the planning and coordinating with parents etc. Overall, this was an amazing opportunity and I feel that we all were able to gain a lot from the trip. We received a lot of gratitude from the youth and families including one youth who said that “this was the most fun he has ever had in his life!”
Thank you to Auberle for allowing us to share these opportunities with our families and communities!