Without courage mankind would not be here today. Men had the courage to walk long distances in the African plains, they had the courage to build civilizations, wage wars, and shape our world today. Courage remains in the blood of every human. Even something small, like a fear of flying or water, drives man to overcome it. At Camp Caribou, some of us were given the opportunity to conquer our fear of heights. I'm not personally terrified of heights, but the idea of hanging precariously off a wall and not being able to stand upright makes me nervous. This is why I decided to challenge myself on the rock wall. The massive climbing wall towered over me, a whopping five stories high, resting between the sturdy trunks of two ancient pines. Near the summit it curved backwards, making it concave, to offer a challenge. I had to crane my neck and squint to see the top. As I began my ascent, the wooden blocks seemed much smaller and farther apart than previously anticipated. The lunging from one block to the next was quite the workout for my arms and core. As I approached the top, I was faced with a problem. I needed to jump from one block to reach the next. I didn't know how to grab on to the block, and I didn't know where to put my feet. I began to hyperventilate. My pulse began to rise as I could only take a chance and jump or fall to the bottom. I took a few deep breaths as I mentally prepared myself and leaped. As I grabbed the handhold above me, I reached my foot out to land on a block for stability, but I missed! My feet gave way and I started thrashing, trying to get my foot back up. I gripped the block with my hand like a kid holds candy as I swung across the wall and made hard contact. As I bounced back around, still attached to my ropes (thank god) I was able to land on the foothold. After I caught my breath, I was able to climb the rest of the wall without issues. The courage that I gained from this experience made me realize that if I could jump from one tiny foothold to another, I could climb the rest in a heartbeat.
Teamwork can solve any problem, at any time, anywhere. Sometimes teamwork can help people do things they do not want to, like leaving the warmth of their comfort zone, even though good things come from it. At Camp Caribou this situation occurred several times on the low ropes. One particular challenging element was a small wooden platform the we needed to fit twelve people on at the same time for twenty seconds. At first, it seemed impossible, because twelve people takes up a lot of space, and we had to all stay balanced. Then, we collectively evolved our strategy. Someone suggested that to conserve space, we could stand on one foot or on each other's feet. Another thought it would be smart of we leaned back locking arms with someone on the other side to stay balanced. After an hour of working as a unit in order to figure out the issue, we still couldn't stay on and the instructor had to tell us how so we could get to lunch on time. But that's not important. What's important is that we powered through as a team, didn't give up or lose interest after an hour of disappointment, and didn't succumb to the fact that the other group completed this seemingly impossible task in under five minutes. We held together like a brick wall and didn't let anything bring us down.
Courage and teamwork together at work are like an unstoppable force and an immovable object together as one. They are the foundations of communities, families, and friendships. They also allow individuals to become greater beings through their actions and impact on one's life. A few people were terrified of the haunting tree that would surely take them to their deathbed as they zip down Satan's ride into the Antarctic cold pond. Once the more bold people started ascending the great pine tree to the platform seated above, some of the fear wore off from the crowd of onlookers, although others remained petrified. When the time came that only the last few people remained to go, the senior boys rallied together in enthusiasm in an effort of persuasion. As the last boys scrambled up the minute staples attached to the tree, cheers of support and enthusiasm rippled through the forest like an earthquake. With the departure of each one of those last boys came a cry of celebration. Only a few second-guessed themselves climbing up the tree, but with the help of their classmates, they pushed on until reaching the top. Afraid of stepping off the platform once firmly attached to the zipline, the boys gave a countdown to the climber, setting them off on their fast, aerial ride to the far side of the lake. The whole class agreed that this was the best experience of the entire trip.
In conclusion, the ninth grade Camp Caribou trip helped boys overcome their fears, make new friends, and learn things about themselves that they hadn't known before. They were able to work as a unit for the goals of another and step miles outside of their comfort zone.