Finally! I was at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Camp. I felt like it was never going to happen. But it was so much fun! Rock climbing, repelling, paddle boarding, Giant’s Ladder, Leap of Faith, Possum Log, Burma Bridge, and kayaking. By the end of the trip I didn’t want to leave.
There I was standing 30 feet in the air. Everyone on the ground looked so small. They were all telling me I could do it. The other tree looked so far away. “One step at a time” they said, “Only 17 steps”. I was letting it all get to my head. I didn’t think I could do it. But then one step at a time I got off the platform; my legs were shaking like crazy. Slowly with my arms out on either side of me I started walking. I was walking on a log. About a quarter of the way there I found a different strategy, I started doing small side steps. I found that a little more comfortable. It seemed like forever before I made it to the tree. The tree’s name was Doug, short for Douglas Fir. We were suppose to give ‘Doug a hug’ when we made it across, so I gave him a big hug but I didn’t want to let go! After a few seconds, I sat on the log. Still 30 feet up in the air, I scooched my way back to the middle. One of my hands was still on Doug, not wanting to let go. Finally my hands both came in front of me touching the log. I had to lay on my stomach, with my hands and my legs wrapped around the log. Slowly I flipped upside down and then I let go with one of my hands and waved to all the little people below. Then quickly put my hand back on the log. I let go with my legs first, then my arms and I was slowly lowered by the safety ropes. My feet touched the ground and I bounced around a little, then I got out of the harness. In the end I was really happy I did it. I had overcome the fear that initially got to my head.
In that little story, it shows how fast fear can get to your head and make you lose confidence in your abilities. For me, a key factor in overcoming the fear was to tell myself to trust the leader who was holding the safety ropes. I convinced myself, there was no way I could fall. You also have to tell yourself that “you can do it”, and “it’s not that far.” Once you let fear get to your head you lose your confidence. That’s why you can’t let the fear of failing (or falling) stop you, you must trust those you depend on (leaders, teammates) and you must believe in yourself. Once you do that it’s also a good I idea to get on with it quickly before you change your mind!
When I was on the leap of faith I didn’t want to let it get to my head, so I just did it really fast. At the top I got a little nervous for a few seconds but I had to remind myself to trust my leader and the other kids holding the rope and that there was no way I could fall. Once I did, I got on the top and jumped. I ended up doing the whole pole in about one minute, and after that I went again and did it in shorter time.
Last year I didn’t do these things because I let the fear get to my head. I wasn’t trusting the leader and I did not believe in myself. At the time, I didn’t even realize I didn’t trust the leader, I just never really thought about it. The fear had taken full control of my head!
Another thing that’s always really good and important to remember about trust when you’re climbing, is to not only trust the person or people that are supporting your safety ropes but also to trust yourself. Trusting yourself and in your abilities is the key to believing in yourself. If you don’t trust yourself or the person holding you, it will be almost impossible for you to climb or jump because of the fear of falling. It’s crazy to think that your mind can prevent you from succeeding by not allowing your body to try.
Even after overcoming the fear of falling and I still noticed a lot of pressure. When I was on the ‘Giant’s Ladder’, I really felt the pressure of getting up there. Getting onto the first two or three ladders I think is where the most pressure was. We were all really good at ACE (A= Accept all levels of ability, C= Challenge by choice and E= Encouragement), but I still felt the pressure when I was climbing. I find no matter what you are doing, especially when you are climbing, it seems like there will always be some pressure. But I came to realize that a little pressure can be good, since it drives you to do your best and sometimes it helps us achieve heights we didn’t know we were capable of. So pressure can be good as along as you don’t let it get to you by turning into fear.
Even though I experienced all those weird, scary, exciting, and challenging feelings, I’m really glad that I went to camp and I’m very happy and proud that I was able to do all the activities and complete them (with encouragement). I learned how to control these feelings and that led to a fantastic camp experience.