I have had the opportunity to visit some of our groups this past week as our season gets underway. No matter what trip your young adults find themselves on, after only a few days, we see some common characteristics in our participants:
First, our kids have a healthy amount of dirt on them. Now, don’t get me wrong, our participants are clean and their clothes and gear are in good shape. But the dirt is from getting involved in the adventure. It is that good kind of dirt, the kind that shows the signs of a day well spent. Over the past few days they have begun to learn how to cook outdoors, how to make a fire, how to support on a service project, and how to navigate a totally new environment. Consequently, they have a bit of grit under those nails and we are pretty sure the grit is a sign of how they are embracing the adventure each and every day.
Second is the smiles. Maybe it is the action-packed days. Maybe it is the crazy riddles. Maybe it is the evening skits and songs. Maybe it is just being with new friends. Whatever it is, the kids are smiling. Each trip becomes its own inside joke of fun, where laughter and happiness are the result.
Finally, I am always struck by the cohesion of the groups. In a world where books are written about group dynamics, our participants form a bond with their groups at a rapid speed. In the amazing settings our participants find themselves, the barriers to pull together as a group are non-existent and after just a few days we find a team that values all its members and that is committed towards a common purpose. Watching these individuals arrive at the airport and now seeing them a few days later, it is remarkable to see the relationships they have formed on their adventure.