An Independant Challange - My Family Travels

An Independent Challenge By: Sandra Campbell


As far back as I can remember, I have always tried to practice being independent. I

would try to mentally prepare myself to be able to form good habits, make good decisions

and to become more responsible. The first time my independence has truly been tested,

was my first extended time away from all my friends and family. I will never forget this


At my school, there was a full paying scholarship to a wilderness course available.

The first time I was introduced to this scholarship, was at a school assembly. Soon after, I

knew that this was the perfect opportunity to practice my independence away from my

family and friends. All I needed to do was to write a wining essay. I spent all weekend

and even went to Saturday school writing it. Eventually, with all that hard work paid

off, I won the scholarship. The day I found out was the happiest day of the year for me,

besides Christmas. The funny thing was that I didn’t have a clue as to what suffering I

was going to go through.

A few months later, with lots of physical and mental conditioning, I felt

confident that I was ready to leave. Even the night before I had to leave, I didn’t have any

fear or nervousness. It wasn’t until I hugged my mom and sister good-bye at the airport

gate, that I felt a bit of uneasiness. By the I time took a seat on the small airplane, my

hands were shaking. I also realized then that I had never flown in a airplane alone. Good

thing the ride was going to be short.

When I arrived at the Bend airport, I met up with a small group of about 10 other

people around my age. We all gathered on a white bus that read “Outward Bound” on the

sides in blue letters. The bus ride seemed to be the shortest two hour drive that I have ever

been on. When we arrived at the river, we put on PFDs and started to do the whole rafting

thing. Afterwards, we carried our river clothes to our camp area for that night. The

instructors taught us all the campsite responsibilities and tasks in order for us to get our

basic needs met every day in the wilderness.

The first lesson was about responsibility. When I was setting up a stove for my

cook group alone, I had to use this weird lighter. I had never had to use a lighter besides

matchboxes and the ones were you just pressed the button and it lights. In order for me to

properly light the stove without causing a ball of flame to go everywhere, I had to light it

quickly. I eventually figured it out and lit it up. If I had left the gas by itself to let

someone else deal with it, it could of caused a big fire for that person later. I learned that

it is really important that I finished each daily task thoroughly, or there could be problems

for myself or others later.

The scariest thing that happened on the river, happened when I was the

captain for my raft group on a Class four rapid. Everything was going great, and we were

heading toward the rapid perfectly, until my group started to play around and splash

water at each other, making us turn to the rapid. We were going sideways and couldn’t

change until we were already entered. Every body went into a great panic. The raft bent

completely in half (Within this large “Hole” which is a natural swoop that comes after a

large rock). Two people in front were tossed up by the leading end because of the bend,

and landed on top of the other two behind them. If I had a better habit of telling the group

to pay attention and keep paddling, we wouldn’t had gone through such trouble. Me and

the two who were still seated paddled really fast and in confusion because we didn’t

know what just hit us. We eventually straightened out and went through the rest of the

way, all together because of the wake up call. I learned quickly that I have to get in the

habit of controlling a group of people with my voice and not just with body language. I

had learned that good habits are vital even if they may not seem that important.

Toward the end of the river part of the course, we were required to go down a

rapid on our backs. Of course I was afraid to do this, but I eventually got over the fear and

Just pushed my self anyways. They told us to swim out to the middle of the river at one

spot, and let our selves float down to a smaller constriction between two boulders. By the

time I could see over the humongous rocks, I was trembling, mostly because the water

was freezing, but also because the drop was like five feet and I could see the rapids up

ahead. Before I knew it, I was in the mess of it, getting tossed around and dunked in and

out of the rapids, hardly catching any breath when my head was above water. At the end,

they told us to flip over and swim to the side, but I swallowed water and was too

distracted to remember. So I went down river for a few minutes, trying to fight the current

to the side they told us to go towards. But while I was swimming, I noticed a strainer

close by me (A strainer is an obstacle from the side of the river, sticking out into the-

water), so I thought that if I could just grab hold of it, I could wait for the instructors to

pick me up. I let myself down toward it a bit. When I got closer, I realized there was an

undercut rock right in front of it and quickly turned and tried to swim away. If I had not

noticed it or not have recognized it, I would have gotten pinned under it and drowned. I

swam enough time for the instructor to ring the raft towards me so I could hop on.

Because of the decision I made, I could have accidentally killed myself, but because of

the counter reaction that I have made, I saved myself. I learned then to make important

decisions based on my own wisdom and knowledge.


After I came home, and from all the experiences in the river part alone, I have

became cultivated in this whole new part of independence that I haven’t even known

about. I have became so much better at responsibility, decision making, and

being able to form good habits.


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