As I'm sure it has been for you, this has been a busy start to 2018 for me. Being in the final year of my doctoral research, working for a university, and running True North Expeditions, it has been full speed ahead. All the while supporting a 16 and 14 year old going through their own life journey. We also have another 16 year old staying with us on exchange for the month.
Personally, I love it. It's one of the reasons I love working with adolescents. It's exciting and a thrill. It's something we can miss when we do not take the time to soak up the energy young people bring. Their passion for life is contagious. We just need reminders to look for it.
So bring on Saturday, what our kids said was "one of the coolest days of their lives". I mean, look at them during the car ride home...
Along with a climbing partner, I took the kids to Second Valley, South Australia for a day in the water. We arrived and made the not for the light hearted trek to the cave and cliffs where we would spend the day. Only three other people were there at the start. Immediately, we donned our snorkels and flippers and dove in.
The girls were laughing while us boys were scaling the rocks to make our first jump. Strapped with cameras, we wanted to capture the day, especially for our exchange student so she could show her family back home. We snorkelled for hours and made our way into the cave. It was dark, green, and spooky. Our laughs and screams echoed off the rocks.
On the way home, the kids asked me, "Is this what adventure therapy is like?" - I said yes! "How does that make you feel, Will?" I was asked. One of the kids was making a therapist joke as he assumes I spend all of my time asking people how they feel.
We talked about how nothing seemed to matter in that moment. There was no deadline, administrative task, or place to be. It was just us and we were together. Laughing with each other, helping and spotting each other as we climbed the rocks, and remaining patient and encouraging when we were too nervous to make the jump, it was a full day and we all had the call for adventure.
Days like these bring our family closer together. They show our teens that we are people, and that we can all have fun together. After all, these are experiences they will remember all their lives.
Second Valley is only an hour and a half from our home but this was the first time I went there. As days turn to weeks and into months, we can forget that these family adventures can take place right in our backyards. They just take a little bit of effort. Saturday was a kind reminder that I can keep facilitating these peak experiences with our kids. Ones where we forget about our phones, the pressures of work and high school, and simply play together in a perfect relationship.
Will Dobud MSW