Written by Elliot, a Springhouse Learner

Over the summer, I was given the opportunity to co-lead Springhouse’s teen backpacking trip, the Blue Ridge Passage, as I had gone on the trip for the previous two years. Another teen was also given this opportunity since they had gone on the trip the previous few years as well. One of the first things we had to figure out with the staff members, who would also help lead, was what our roles could be while considering liability and the ways our leadership could be best used. 

A large part of the BRP (Blue Ridge Passage) are the intentions we set before we start walking every day, including the reasons we are doing the trip. So my co-lead and I decided that we would bring a poem (see below) and story on the trip to give us some direction and intentions for the journey. We were also put in charge of two groups to split up the gathering of water and the making of our meals.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

Leading this way is far from the traditional ways of school and from the opportunities given to us in our day-to-day. On the trip, I was able to experience some of the smaller moments of leadership and morale boosting by singing songs and keeping our energy up. I was able to experience being a leader and learning what that can mean, and I also learned about how I could step up in my life to bring more leadership to my day-day.

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