This summer, we’re focusing on Growing Grit, and so we were excited to receive the following email from Billy Jones, father of second year camper, Charlotte. In it, he describes the grit Charlotte demonstrated on a service trip to Haiti this year. Thank you to the Jones family for sharing this “Grit Story.” Do you have a good grit story? We’d love to hear it! Send us an email or give us a call at 1-800-554-2267.
Our 12 year old daughter Charlotte was a first time camper last summer and is coming back this summer. She loved her time at GAC and made lots of new friends.
Last week, I took Charlotte to Haiti on a trip to visit our partner school in Caracol. Four 7th graders, four parents, and three teachers went to deliver some supplies and continue building our relationship with this rural school community. We drove four hours out of Port au Prince, and then hiked two hours across undeveloped land to the school.
The trip was a little more “rustic” than described originally, due to some unforeseen logistical issues. Several days without power or running water, many nights of little sleep, and unfamiliar settings (that would be a very generous description) to sleep in could have been trying to anyone.
Charlotte was absolutely comfortable, confident, and calm in some very trying circumstances, and as we talked more and more, she kept referring to her time at GAC as the reason why. Lack of bathrooms, heavy backpacks, strange insects and other oddities were nothing to her. The confidence that she found in her experiences and successes at Gold Arrow, allowed her to be able to better observe and participate in the life around us in this developing country.
So, thank you, for helping prepare our child for the world ahead, and for showing her she can do whatever she sets her mind to. I can’t wait to see how she will continue to grow.
We followed up with Charlotte and asked her some questions about her trip, and this is what Charlotte shared with us:
Our school has the Haiti trip because we have a partner school, St. Paul’s School in Caracol. We were helping to sand and waterproof seal the benches we raised money to have built for the school. We also gave St. Paul’s soccer balls and hats. I raised money to bring individual solar lights for each of the students at the school (96). Giving them to the kids and the principal will be something I will never forget. The valley the school sits in had no points of light at all the night we arrived, and now I like to imagine it with 96 separate little lights.
The hardest thing about the trip was seeing all of the poverty. Some houses we saw were just palm fronds wrapped around thick sticks. There was no running water, no electricity, nothing. The school we were traveling to see was a two hour hike from the nearest road, which just was a mostly paved two lane street, although they called it Highway 3.
I learned many things, but the most important is to have an open mind and be ready for anything. We didn’t know the hiking route to the school, but we saw many plants and a few horses. We had no idea what we would be eating, but we ate everything and everything was so delicious! Most of my favorite experiences were based off the fact that I didn’t know what I was going to do next, and that made it so much more fun!
At camp, I tried everything, from the food to the seemingly-terrifying height of the ropes course. The fact that I knew I could do so much at camp helped me relate several situations in Haiti to it. For example, on the trip to visit the school in Haiti, we were basically backpacking. We slept on the ground with the other travelers in our group and that reminded me of what the backpacking trip at camp was like. We also had to go into several bathrooms which I could relate to the kybos at Shaver. Another example is that on the two nights we had a shelter to sleep in, we only had two bathrooms that had (sometimes) running water, one in the boys’ room and another in the girls’. We had to take really fast cold showers that I was used to because of camp.
I really want to go back to Haiti. I also want to go to other parts of the world like Haiti because I love helping others and seeing other places.
GAC is amazing, not just in all that I got to do while there, but in the skills I left with. The people there are all so nice and everything I did there gave me more confidence.
Thank you for sharing your story, Charlotte. You’re one gritty girl, and we can’t wait to see you at GAC 2016! 🙂
Remember to share your grit stories with us by sending us an email or giving us a call at 1-800-554-2267.
And get ready for Growing Grit at GAC 2016!