Encouragement Goes a Long Way

(Kara Jerez is For Love of Children’s Recruitment and Outreach Intern this summer. She will also be a reading tutor.)

As the Recruitment and Outreach Summer Intern, I was invited to the all staff retreat at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

I knew we were participating in ropes courses and a rafting trip aimed toward teambuilding. These teambuilding programs are implemented at a summer camp I volunteer at and I’ve seen first hand the bonding and inspiration campers gain through them. However, I was unaware the same would happen to an adult staff.

The importance of communication proved to be the first lesson of many I learned in those two days, especially through the first high ropes obstacle, which essentially looked like a telephone pole with artificial grips for the hands and feet.

After seeing other co-workers climb up to the top, I thought, “Piece of cake.”

Incapable of establishing my footing effectively, I found myself relying heavily on my coworkers’ instructions. The higher I climbed, the more detailed they became. With no foot holds in sight, inches separated me from the bell to signal my success.

“There is a little blue hold to your right foot. Use that to get to the top,” I heard from the ground.

Little was an understatement. They hadn’t led me astray during their previous directions, so I gave the little blue foot hold a try. Sure enough, I made it to the top!

Afterward, I didn’t feel proud that I made it to the top, but instead felt proud and thankful to be reminded of what encouragement feels like, to have people believe in you, and to be part of this organization.

I realized that’s the FLOC way – encouragement. A small amount of encouragement brought me to the top of that obstacle, allowing me to understand why FLOC students improve and succeed as much as they do. I am excited to pass that encouragement I received to a student as a Language tutor this summer.

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