This summer I had the privilege of being the Resource Counsellor for nine amazing young Leaders In Training. We had a fantastic month and I learned that the opportunity to influence young people in an environment like camp is a powerful thing. After 3 weeks of sessions, half days and full days we ended our time together with an out-trip along the Maitland Trail.
The trip began on Sunday afternoon, it was a hot day and we had about 10km along the Maitland Trail to hike until we reached our first campsite. The first half hour of the hike was full of each and every one of us constantly saying ‘ow!’ as we walked along the thorny trails. Once the thorns cleared up, we played a quick game of “Who’s bleeding?” and from there it was a much more smooth and comfortable hike within the trees and along the beautiful river. We settled down in at a beautiful site for some food and rest.
Our second day was cloudy and we were pleased to not have the sun beating down on us. When we reached our lunch spot however, the moment we set our food out it began to pour rain. We couldn’t help but laugh in misery but we continued to eat in the rain and this was the first moment on the trip that I realized that I needed to take a moment and take it all in. I needed to remember this moment because it would be a hilarious story for when we returned. So I took a step back, and the moment made me see it as a humorous and positive experience instead of a miserable meal. It was just rain, and the fact that we were smiling (well most of us) and eating just made the feeling of community in our group that much stronger! These moments of reflections was something I often encouraged the L.I.T’s to practice.
This set the tone for my mood as we continued the remaining 4 hours of hiking in the rain. Everything was green and everything was fresh along the Maitland Trail. I shared this mood with some of my fellow hikers, others were not particularly happy with the rain (and the amount of mud). But each and every one of the LITs made the best of it and when we reached our second campsite (finally!) all spirits were lifted and we enjoyed cooking our food, playing games and exploring a nearby creek.
We set out for our third and final day of hiking, heading for the Knox Forest. This final campsite was absolutely gorgeous and the time we got to spend there was a gift. The beautiful trees and river bank was a pleasure to spend time on and explore. It was a simple comfortable afternoon of board games and skipping rocks.
The already strongly bonded group became even closer during our trip, which is the purpose of the whole thing. The fun but challenging journey over 4 days and about 36km created an opportunity for the L.I.T’s to strengthen their friendship, their own skills and allowed time for reflection and growing among God’s gorgeous creation!