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When I was 13, my mom signed me up for this wilderness program that I would have to leave home for almost a month! Needless to say, I was scared. I actually backed out of going, much to my mother’s dismay (and frustration!). The following year, however, on my own I decided that I wanted to go. Till this day, I hold that decision to be one of my greatest, in all of my life!

Before my first trip, I lacked confidence in myself, was unsure of any of my skills, and was very uncomfortable in my own skin. I saw, even after my first trip, how I had developed into someone who felt great being “me”. Since then, each trip has empowered me to become a better “me”. I attribute this personal growth to the unusual opportunity that being out in the wilderness grants you to look at yourself, to see how you want to better yourself. And, of course, learning to recognize that you can have fun, no matter what the circumstances might be – learning to enjoy every bit of life!

Of course, none of this could have been possible without the people that I journeyed with. I was always amazed how easy it was for me to connect with others on each of my trips and at base camp – after all, we had all done something truly awesome. These connections made me feel so at home, so at peace, which allowed me to be authentically myself and to open up – something that had always been hard for me. I feel truly blessed that I am able to give back to the place that has allowed me to grow into the person I am today – and, as the journey always continues, the man I am becoming does as well. The time I am away from Northwaters and Langskib is spent rowing for Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, studying Environmental Science & Sustainability, which I will combine with Computer Science & Game Design.