Dave Merrill repeated this phrase to us parent chaperones throughout my daughter’s three days of adventure camp. The old adage proved true during the mid-May camp out in “less than ideal” conditions at Denali National Park.
To start with, we arrived to discover the tent sites in the campground had not been cleared of snow and ice as the park staff had promised four days earlier. This meant most of the 20 tents had to be set up in the plowed gravel parking space in each campsite. The only space left for my daughter‘s tent was a sheet of ice after more than a foot of snow was shoveled off the tent site.
Finally, rounding out the challenges, we awoke the last morning to discover fresh snow falling and covering the tents.
Through out all the adversities, snow, and cold the parents kept up a positive outlook and the kids had an unforgettably fun experience. A couple of my daughter’s highlights were seeing her first grizzly bear, seeing Mt. McKinley, and meeting “Candy Clause” with Snickers and Reese’s in his pack half way through the hike.
Imagine what a different experience these third and fourth graders would have had if us parent chaperones had started to whine about the park staff, the cold and snowy conditions, and the canceled hike. Forty-four students would have followed our example and endured 3 days of misery that they would someday need therapy for.
Each day, we all have the opportunity to influence the attitudes of coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. Will we follow Mr. Merrill’s example and create an atmosphere of anticipation and adventure? Or will we generate an environment of misery and gloom? The choice is yours.