I have the best job.
Come summertime, I get to pack my bags and head for the hills of Gladstone Ranch; and it’s nestled in this scenic local, that the twelve-day journey of a lifetime begins.
Upon my arrival to Gladstone on that first day, I have a little trouble believing that it will happen again as it always has at FACES.
Will this undeniably average and self-conscious-looking cluster of fifteen-year-old students really make up a group of my greatest heroes by the end of a short twelve days? I look more closely into their eyes and am assured that the answer is yes.
We’ll have lots to do in that time and I am both eager and quaking at the thought of it all. The completion of outdoor summer activities including white water canoeing, rock climbing, and hiking will make up the basic structure of our time at FACES, and then there will be all the time spent learning how to achieve goals, reach out to our communities, and better understand our value as individuals.
Add to that, a morning run and yoga each day as well as the opportunity to draw metaphors from our outdoor experiences and discuss these insights in a small group setting, and there won’t be much time left to do anything else but sleep (in a tent, of course).
Building relationships of trust with students and helping them to motivate themselves in order to overcome challenges and fears is paramount at FACES, and as such, I know the hardest part of it all for me won’t be the early mornings or the rapids, but the moment when it’s time to surrender these beautiful souls back to the care of their parents.
If you haven’t been to FACES then you probably won’t understand how much a group of fifteen-year-old kids can teach you about being brave, and honorable, and filled with integrity. But I’ve been to FACES, and it’s the reason I keep coming back.