Dear Fellow Parents of EDS 8th Graders,
As I write this your sons and daughters have set up their camps for the last night of this Outward Bound adventure. They are carefully preparing their final meals and, unbeknownst to them, preparing for their crews’ closing ceremonies, after which they will sleep soundly under the stars one last night. We will get up dark and early and come together as a class for one last personal challenge event followed by a celebratory breakfast. We will intend to be on the road by 1:30, getting us into Augusta between 5:30 and 6:00. I will update you on calling post from Morganton (about 3 1/2 hours out) and again about 30 minutes out.
I have had the honor of spending some time with all of them and seen a window into each student. I cannot express to you how proud I am of this class and how impressed I have been by them. Every single one. They have consistently faced each challenge with determination, teamwork, compassion, and grace. They have brought good cheer and joy to every adventure. We have been in some of the most beautiful creation on the planet, truly. Linville Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina” and one of the first federally designated wilderness areas, holds many majestic and magical beauties. It is truly sacred ground, and your students have experienced a good deal of it. I have seen celebrations of triumph, furrowed brows of frustration, sweet quiet moments of reflection, and bright, shining smiles. Oh what a week we have had — including a couple nice thunder showers just to compete the full experience!
Here are a few of the lessons I have seen or heard experienced this week, to give you a taste:
–So many times when we say we can’t do something, we are wrong.
–Most things worth doing we can’t do alone and require us to work together.
–Sometimes the most important job is supporting someone else.
–Our true needs are very few and very simple.
–We take for granted so much that we have and will try to be more appreciative and grateful.
–God’s creation is so amazingly beautiful, and I am a part of that, so…
When they return, they will be filled with tales of adventure,challenge, and mirth (and maybe a little myth). I do hope in between you can glean some of the deeper moments we have experienced. Some they will be able to articulate, while most will only be seeds planted deep inside their memories that will grow and sustain them over time.
It is such a privilege for me to be able to share this experience with them, and I am honored by your trust in letting us offer this to them.
It is amazing how in just 4 1/2 short days they can completely adjust to an entirely foreign way of life (this should give us great comfort as we approach high school). When they return, they will surely want to immerse themselves immediately in all the “stuff” they were “deprived” this week — distractions, activity, noise and the like. But please remember they have been in a slow and gentle place where life became exceedingly simple, where we tended only to basic needs and focused on one task or adventure at a time. Be gentle with them on re-entry, and help them be gentle with themselves.
These are beautiful children. Thank you for sharing them with us. I have been blessed by this experience with them just as we all have surely been blessed by God’s presence in these mountains.
See you soon!
PS Photos will come next week!