#12 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
As instructors, one of our first responsibilities is to create this compassionate safe space. We can teach this in a variety of ways—through evening meeting structure, conflict resolution skits and Outward Bound history and philosophy lessons. Ultimately though, it is the students who have to put what we teach into practice. My students this summer were courageous and compassionate individuals who together formed two inspiring crews. The safe space they created allowed for them to share their thoughts and feelings openly. Especially telling were their realizations shared about what they experienced on solo:
“The mosquitoes were horrible, but I realized something about them. They’re like the people in your life that bring you down. You can either keep swatting at them and letting them drive you insane or you can put on some clothes and ignore them. You don’t have to let them get to you.”
“I like myself. I like being alone with myself. It was something I didn’t think was true but I realized that I needed to have this space to think because there are relationships in my life which need to change. I wasn’t able to realize this until I was by myself.”
I think this speaks not only to the power of this one course element, but also to the power of an Outward Bound course in general. These students shared what they had learned with the entire group—a group composed of people they had met at most a week and a half earlier. Their trust in each other was inspiring. If I have done my job as an instructor, my students will leave with the ability to transfer what they learned about themselves and their ability to overcome challenges to use in their daily lives. The real Outward Bound course only begins once the wilderness expedition ends.
You can make an expedition possible for a students to have experiences like Caitlin’s group by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!