Last week I had the opportunity to take a few days off of work and lead a group of youth on a church sponsored pioneer trek. In short, we divided about 100 teenagers between 8 couples and formed families. The families loaded all of their gear into handcarts and then pulled them through the mud and rain over several days, covering many miles. The couples served as “ma and pa” for their family. One of the purposes of the trek was to help these youth understand the sacrifices made by our pioneer ancestors, connect with them, feel gratitude, and gain a greater appreciation for what we have and the need we have to come together, helping each other through whatever challenges life gives us.
It rained, it was cold, the carts were heavy, the kids were wet, often hungry, and yet they never complained. Thursday night we set up camp in the pouring rain on top of 2” of water. Some of the tents weren’t so waterproof and some families were forced to try and sleep in wet sleeping bags. It was perfect for what we were trying to accomplish. As we shared pioneer stories of entire families dying of exposure and food deprivation the youth felt incredible gratitude for what they have. We didn’t have one person complain. After all, it was only a glimpse of what life was like for so many, not so long ago. Watching the youth come together, care for one another’s needs, while maintaining positive attitudes was inspiring to me. It gives me great hope that our future is bright in the hands of today’s youth, our future leaders.
As I come back to the “real world” I feel an incredible sense of gratitude for what I have and the opportunities I have been given. I have a renewed sense of hope and my desire to be a better man has increased. I hope those that read this can feel just a portion of what I experienced this past week. I hope you too can feel a sense of hope for today. We have countless opportunities to become whatever we want to be. I look forward to working alongside you, and providing whatever help I can as we work together.