I kept this for last. I probably can’t put into words what this experience was like for us, but I’m sure going to try.
The girls all wanted to try cross-country skiing. I am the only one who has ever done it before. It was quite an interesting experience. There was laughter, crying, frustration, and determination. We had to have teamwork a few times to get someone up who fell. It was quite interesting.
I wasn’t sure how Amie was going to do at first. She got frustrated at the beginning trying to figure out how to get the shoes into the skis. Then at the first hill, which was the steepest of the whole thing, she didn’t want to go down it because everybody else went before her and we all fell. We finally got her to take the skis off and walk down it and then put them back on. Not far along the path, there was a hump to go over. I and the other leader both were able to get over it okay, but none of the girls did without falling or rolling. Amie just had an emotional breakdown here, she didn’t want to do this anymore. She was so afraid of falling. The other leader and I talked and if Amie decided she didn’t want to go any farther than I’d take her back. She took off her skis and carried them and her poles and followed along with us for a while. When we got to some deep snow though, she found she couldn’t walk. I turned myself around, preparing to head back when she decided she’d give skiing another chance. She went the rest of the way on the skis until we came back to the hump and the hill. She took the skis off for those, but without any fussing.
The other girls did their best. There was a lot of falling, but they kept laughing. It was good to hear them laughing even when they said it was so hard to do. At the end, one of the girls went down into a copse of trees and got stuck, so I took my skis off and went down to help her get up and untangled from the trees. As we were there, another of the girls started down the same slope and the one I was helping said, “You’re going to end up running into the trees too!” Well, a moment later, I find one ski on one side of me and the other ski on the other side of me. The girl probably would have landed on me if a tree hadn’t been there to stop her. We all busted up laughing. It was kind of funny. After she got up and moved, I finally got the first one standing and somehow got her skis turned correctly.
One other thing that happened… while we were out there, we saw two boys skiing by themselves. They were off-path because they had wanted to ski on the lake. We were concerned about them. With all the falls and all that we had, we expected them to catch up to us, but they never did. The other leader asked for me to finish taking the girls back and she’d check on the boys. It was a good thing she did. They had fallen and couldn’t get out up and their fingers were too cold to get the skis off, so they felt like they were stuck. They were still not on the path when she found them. The sun was starting to go down and it wouldn’t have been easy to find them later. She helped them up and stayed with them until they got back.
I don’t know if I really conveyed what we experienced, but I sure tried. The girls have decided that though this was the hardest activity they did, they want to do it again next year and see how the kids who will be new to the camp do. They said it will be an initiation to camp thing to do every year. I’m glad they are determined to try it again.