Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things I learned

Spring, summer, and fall, school groups come up to the Mountain Institute's Spruce Knob Mountain Center and explore the woods and mountains of the Potomac highlands. Leadership and outdoor education are major themes of their experience, and every student leaves learning something new. Here are assorted reflections from one such school group.

I Learned...
life is not as easy as it seems
… how to wash dishes, pitch a tent
… to cook without hi-tech equipment
… that some people snore
… how to read a map and use a compass
… to trust following other people
I am flexible
… that people that I don’t normally hang out with are nice
… things do not come freely
… to not try something just once and then give up
… what kind of shoes to bring the NEXT time I go hiking
… I can accomplish things better in a group
… to be thankful for toilets
… that Evan and Charlie are really good at orienteering
… to drink water out of a stream after putting iodine in it
… how to climb up a mountain and not be tired (very)
I have the power
… I could walk longer in a day than I slept in the night before
… to pick up something that I’ve dropped on the ground
… that even though people seem so different that
       when I get to know them we have so much in common
… to take what I have, to use it wisely, and to be grateful for it
we don’t need everything we have
… to be open to other ideas
… I am a BIG cook
… I can fit into SMALL spaces
… to laugh more
I am strong
… I can survive without beef and my bed
… some people are good at different things
… when people work together things get done more quickly
… if I stop worrying about what’s going to happen, I have fun
it’s ok to be dirty
… I hate oatmeal and granola
… ALL people are very difficult
… one person can ruin a group, so everyone has to do their part
… how to cook tuna surprise
… to listen
I can hold my own
… how to appreciate the stars
… how to break spaghetti without it shooting all over
… that wool and helmets are my friends
… that Currie kicks people in her sleep
… it’s very easy to get homesick
I am a leader
… to make only as much as I’m going to eat
… the quieter we are, the faster we are
… how things can be right around me
… that if I feel homesick, my friends will be there to help me
… camping is fun
… to do things right or I can get hurt
… that I don’t like uphill, rainy days and little stoves
… to not give Tim my camera
… life is easy for most people I know, but no one is as lucky as me
I am more resourceful than I thought
… that if I have a positive outlook, things will be better
… to become less picky
… how to pick out people with a sense of humor
… the Appalachians are OLD
… how animals change to adapt to their environment
… I don’t argue much
… nice people can get into bad moods when they’re tired and hungry
… to appreciate food
… to eat off the ground
… to enjoy cave formations
… life tastes good
… that people act a lot different in and outside of school
… if I drop food on the ground that I should eat it
… I don’t like tight spaces
… how to play Smog’s Treasure
… to care for the environment because people are killing off the world
… that I can go to the bathroom in the woods
I need patience
… that life goes on if something happens, the world doesn't’t wait for me
… that I remembered how horrible McDonald’s is
… I hate insects
… to not push the red button
… to appreciate bonfires
… people depend on other people
… I can make a spoon out of a log and a rock
who I am really
… sometimes it’s good to be small
… that all people like privacy
… how to compromise with nature
… grouses sound like tractors
… newts can be poisoned by my hand
… how to deal with mud
… I appreciate my mother for cooking
… I would rather be by myself than in a large group of people
… that I need to know people to make an opinion about them
… to like things that I wouldn't’t even have tried
… that if people get split up, there may be lots of panic
… to get someplace without the help of counselors and teachers
to set goals for myself
… that for some, life is really hard
… not everything comes easily and sometimes hard work is involved
… I don’t always have to be cautious; I can have the
        best time when adventurous
… how to plan out a schedule to a given time frame
… there are many different styles to living life
… That I don’t just “stop and smell the roses” very much anymore
I am tougher than I think

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