Each year, a GISF teen in our EnCourage program is selected for a scholarship to go on a NOLS excursion. Girls EnCourage establishes a noncompetitive, exploratory environment and puts girls’ needs first, giving them a supportive base from which they can test their limits. Our partnership with NOLS is an amazing way for girls to take a healthy risk and see their amazing capabilities!
My NOLS journey was a backpacking trip in the Pacific Northwest. This trip was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it meant so much to me. I will take all these memories with me and use these skills I learned to help others and be a leader. This adventure taught me plenty about myself. I can make strong connections with people in a short amount of time and I’m okay with being out of my comfort zone. One of the times I was really pushed out of my comfort zone was the day we had a 12-mile hike, which took us over 12 hours to complete. We went through all sorts of challenging terrain. We walked through snow, climbed over fallen trees, and hiked on a steep uphill. Yes, it was a hard day but we made the time pass by playing games, laughing, and staying positive. I remember two of the games we played. One of them was singing songs and trying to remember all the words. The other was a competition to see who fell the least amount of times. I fell seven times throughout that day.
Getting to learn more of my strengths through hands-on experiences was a lot of fun! Now I know what I am really capable of and how much I can do when I put my mind to it. I’m grateful for getting the opportunity to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, meet new people, and have an experience that I’ll take with me forever!