At the end of each of our canoe trips at Adventurous Christians, participants fill out what we call a “Summer Trip Reflections” form. Participants are asked to rate certain parts of their experience and are then asked a series of reflective questions. While looking through these trip reflections, whether it was from a 7th grader or a woman in her mid-50s, I noticed an overwhelming theme: “I didn’t think that I could do it, but I did. I can do hard things.”
When discussing promoting and marketing canoe trips at Adventurous Christians, we really do try to help people understand what they are signing up for. A week on trail through the Boundary Waters, though beautiful, is challenging. Each day our canoe groups are faced with making sure their needs are met – eating, sleeping, getting from one place to another…often at the mercy of the weather while carrying packs and portaging canoes. Sometimes after a long day of paddling and portaging, cooking a meal in the rain is the last thing you want to do – but, you have to do it.
These moments are difficult, but they are transformational. One student wrote on their trip reflection, “I learned on my canoe trip that I am able to have fun while also doing really hard things. I learned to stay positive and have fun with my friends, even if I was uncomfortable.” Reflections like this bring us so much joy. Moments on trail are hard, but the attitude participants choose is key.
This year we offered a canoe trip for adult women. The group was a mixed group of ladies ranging in ages and backgrounds. One trip reflection read, “I learned that I can still do challenging things, even at my age. It may take longer, but it still gets done!” Again, another reflection that encompasses our hope for our canoers. Rising to the challenge, even while accepting limitations is also key in the success of a canoe trip.
Finally, a high school student shared on their reflection,
“What really stuck out to me was how similar this trip was with devotion to God. It’s hard at first, but if you keep at it consistently, it will get so much easier.”
Can we get an AMEN?!
We are so proud of all of our canoe trip participants this summer for conquering the challenges of their trip and learning about themselves and God along the way.