Spent the whole of yesterday (Sunday) out with the youths and adult volunteers from Camp Vision at Shines Adventures.
The first part of the day was spent imparting skills on how to facilitate discussion and activities. I love how some of the youth leaders took lead of the discussions. The afternoon was hot and most were losing interest especially when the whole group was moved to outdoor under the hot blazing sun. I was worried if the energy would go low.
Every time after a group finished conducting an activity, they received feedback and suggestions from the floor. Feedback were both negative and positive. Most of them took everything with an open mind.
I like how the rest of the group learn from the previous group’s mistakes. So when the last group conducted their activities, it was the most fun among all.
After lunch, everybody moved to the high element grounds. The camp instructors were briefing on the “Dos and Don’ts”. I could see impatience in some of the youths. Some of them have tried high elements before and couldn’t wait to get on while some of them, listened with full attention.
Their objective is to win (which I think most of them forgot about this while focusing on overcoming their fears for height). So, every time a member finishes an element, the whole team would score some points. The first level course, being the lowest and just a few feet off the ground would get the team 10 points. 20 points for the second and the third level, being the highest level as well will have 30 points for them.
They will plan on their winning strategies, on who should go up to each level. Looking up on the elements from the ground seems easier… but the moment they climbed up to the platform, things change and get tougher.
While some of them are the adventurous ones, doing the high elements meant nothing to them at all. We invited them to accept our challenges – finish the element with eyes blind-folded, or to cross over without hanging on to any ropes.
This brought them a new level of challenge and fear.
One of the youths stood on the platform for 15 minutes and have not moved. She didn’t even dare to take one step forward. From below, I could see her legs shaking and she was crying. She was very afraid of heights. My team mate and I were cheering her on “If you don’t make your first step, you’ll never get to your destination.”
Her response was “I have no problem with taking the first step, it is the second step! I don’t know how to move on to second and third step!”
“Well! Take the first step out and you’ll figure out the next step somehow! OR you can stay there forever and not move, OR COME BACK DOWN and GIVE UP WITHOUT EVEN TRYING!!”.
There, she moved. From the platform to the first hanging log. It was slow and she was very careful. And she was shaking very bad. When she manage to get both feet on the first log, she had to figure out on how to move on to the next log. Her body coordination suddenly became all hay wired by her fear for heights. She let her fear took over her and all she did was stood there looking down to the ground, which made things worse as she was looking at her fear.
It’s something that I’ve learned over the years of growing up and probably is one of the reason why I’m adaptive. But this might not work all the time. In order to get things done, I’ve learned to get used to the environment, and that’s when I have myself placed in a comfort zone. And when you’re in a comfort zone, things just gets easier (and lazier at times).
It took her a while to figure this out before moving on from the first log to the next and till the destination. That smile on her face was priceless. That joy in me that I had for her felt really great.
There was another pair who had such great teamwork that inspired me a lot. One was blindfolded and the other was challenged to walk across the element with one hand off the rope. So it was a lot of the clumsy leading the blind on a log in the air. Well of course, they made it.
We all made it.
Towards the end, a few of us sat down to share our feelings and experiences. It was a good sharing especially when I heard youths saying they accepted the challenge, or that it’s good to start practice to be a youth leader, or that they don’t like it but at least they’ve been through it. It is also these little sharing that would make my day and provide me strength in whatever I was doing at the point of time.