When Issa first came to us she was a quiet, sweet, but obviously uncomfortable teenage girl. Backpacking was a new experience for her and being so far from home was intimidating. On just the second day of the expedition, with doubts in her mind and tears on her cheeks, she said, “I can’t do this.” There was fear in her eyes, more than the typical wide-eyed discomfort of being pushed outside one’s comfort zone. With a lot of encouragement, reassurance, and many breaks, she slowly continued the hike.
Later that week Issa participated in a team-building activity which helped increase her confidence leading into summit day. Waking up on summit day, Issa was very tentative and nervous; however, she didn’t say she couldn’t do it. Slowly but surely she summited the mountain. Standing atop the mountain, admiring the view, Issa’s smile was radiant!
On the final day, leadership of the expedition was given to the students. Issa was the designated navigator. To everyone’s surprise, she was vibrant! She charged up the hill and didn’t hesitate on the loose, narrow, exposed section of trail – she was hardly recognizable! “Who is this kid?” volunteers whispered from the back of the group.
That night, she slept under the stars, outside of the tent, for the first time – something five days ago she insisted she’d never do! The experience of setting goals, accomplishing them, and realizing she was capable of conquering a tough challenge instilled in her a confidence she continues to carry with her today. Since returning, Issa has taken on challenges such as sharing her story in front of audiences that she never would have before her BCM expedition.