This was my first, most impactful adventure of my entire Girl Scout Destination to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Bocas del Toro, Panama. We woke up early that morning, to birds chirping and bugs humming, in our cabin at the base of a rainforest mountain. I knew I had to prepare myself for a monstrous undertaking, riding 14 zip lines. But little did I know, I first had to prepare myself for another mind-blowing task. I discovered that, in order to reach the zip line I had to climb 677 steep, steps, up a massive mountain. As we started the journey, we all kept up pace, all 14 of us. But once we climbed about 50 steps we began to fall apart, some were leading including me, while others were a little behind. But all that didn’t matter because we were driven by the eagerness to explore. This task was tiresome and draining, but completely worth it.
Once I made it to the rainforest canopy there was only one more goal I had to accomplish for the day. The zip line guides attached our safety gear and we were ready to ride! There was only one dilemma I was terrified! I had never rode a zip line before, and I never expected to have my first one be of such high caliber. As I stepped to the edge I couldn’t fathom what I was about to do. I continued to tell myself, “I’ve come all this way to have the experience of my life, and to get the most out of my opportunity. So I can’t back out now.” Everyone else flew down the 1st line before me smooth, with no problems, assuring to me that this was all fun. So I went. In the beginning all was fine until I unintentionally put to much pressure on the line, which slowed down my momentum, causing me to stop moving right in the middle of the line. Guides yelled to me, “Lift your hand from the line”, but I still wouldn’t budge. So one of the guides slid down the zip line and pulled me to the end of the line. I thought, “Well I have 13 more lines to ride so by the end I should get the technique correct”. Everyone was supportive, which kept me encouraged and determined to follow along. As I kept riding, descending the mountain by zip line, I had the best fun and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself for facing my fear. After that point I felt invincible, anything was possible.
When we arrived back at base we had a meeting where we talked about the day’s events and accomplishments. A main part of this nightly gathering was to award the strongest, most courageous girl of the day. That girl would get to wear the “Moon Frogs”, a necklace with 14 beautiful, natural jade stones, which were eventually given to each person at the close of the destination as keepsakes. That night, at the first ceremony I earned the moon frog necklace. When my counselor gave them to me she said. “I think Shannon deserves to receive the moon frogs because she was the person who was clearly intimidated and genuinely scared. But she did it anyway, and had fun!” This meant everything to me, it taught me to never let my nerves determine my actions because if I run away from my aspirations because I’m nervous I will never accomplish anything. This experience also taught me that following the crowd can be a good thing, if they’re moving to where I want to be!
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