And then it rained…

Josh Goldbach21 Jul, 2022
navigating challenges on trip
       students crossing a river on a hike in Iceland

Well, I’m not sure if it actually did. But unless you’re on our Grand Canyon trip, it’s bound to rain at least once, right? This may sound odd, but we really like a day of rain on our trips. It doesn’t have to rain – maybe it’s wind or mud. It could be a logistical hurdle that comes up on the trip or a very challenging hike. The point is that it’s not always easy.

I have a lot of conversations with our parents about the role of challenge at Bold Earth. The truth is it’s nuanced. Bold Earth is not a hard-core wilderness program, we don’t believe in suffering just for its own sake. We also don’t believe that all hardship results in growth or resiliency. We do believe that challenge, when properly framed and navigated can lead to authentic growth opportunities.

Part of that comes from the challenge being real and not always pre-programmed. While we do challenging activities on Bold Earth trips, sometimes it’s the smaller discomforts or challenges that can help build resilience in our students. Whether it’s rain or a longer-than-expected hike or bugs, navigating real challenges builds real resiliency.

Neither I nor any of our parents want our students to be miserable. We believe in having fun – that’s what gets our kids to buy into the Bold Earth experience! But if comfort was our only goal then I know every student would have gone elsewhere. They’d have gone on a teen tour where they never had to cook, or a program that let students keep their cell phones. We accept the idea that discomfort is a necessary, important, and even intended part of the experience.

Know that we will always look after your children’s safety and well-being. We’ll look after their needs, but there will be several times during their Bold Earth adventure they’ll be pushed past their comfort zone. Know that it’s not a bug in our system but part of the process. When we do our jobs well, students leave having had the time of their lives – bugs, rain, mud, and all.


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