Monday, July 11, 2011

ProRanger Leadership Camp - Day 3

Day 3, Thursday July 7th, 2011
Program Manager Don Sweet constantly used the term " Pain is weakness leaving the body". We were all shedding alot of weakness. The morning PT of day three was by far the most difficult of the PT. We began with a series of Calisthetics and stretches to warm our bodies up. We then began a formation mountain run which included the use of cadence to regulate our breathing and to keep us motivated. The team leaders created their own cadence and used some from the Marines in order to personalize the cadence and keep everyone in good spirits throughout the run. It was extremely difficult to run the mountainous terrain but as we stuck together and continued to support one another we found that we would be able to finish as a unit. The mountain formation run was an accomplishment for all of us.
After our morning PT, we quickly got ready to head up to Beams Rock to do some real rappelling.

We were able to use what we learned yesterday in a real setting. We started with a nice hike through the rocks. At one point we came to this section of rock where there were two rocks extremely close together. We all took a deep breath and exhaled trying to make sure we could all make it through. After shimmying through the rock we realized that this would be good preparation for caving on Saturday. Although there were a few moments where it seemed like you might get stuck we were all able to get out just as easily as we went in. Throughout the whole hike we were constantly looking out for one another. If someone needed a hand up a few rocks there was always a hand there waiting to help them up. We really were developing as a unit – constantly looking out for one another.
After our brief hike, we ended at the base of the cliff we would be rappelling down and the section of rock that we would be climbing up. We split up into two groups; one that would be rappelling and the other that would be climbing. The climbing group immediately got geared up and began climbing. It was quite the challenge because as you got past the first little section would good grips, you found yourself in this little cave that was extremely difficult to maneuver out of and continue your climb. The people on the ground were constantly trying to help the individual climbing by giving them advice on handholds and footholds. It was extremely difficult but the rock climbing demonstrated how an individual event can quickly turn into a team event. We were all there for each other, wanting to see one another succeed up that rock. Every time that someone reached the top there was a sense of accomplishment for the entire group.

At the same time, individuals began to rappel down the 90ft rock cliff. For those that had been dealing with their fear of heights for the entire week, this was the ultimate test.
It was inspiring to watch these people slowly lean back over the edge of the cliff, then one foot at a time climb down. Once they got the okay, they were able to release and jump down the rock face. Many of us did it without hesitation after walking down those first few steps. The amount of support for those individuals who are afraid of heights was overwhelming.

Half way through, we broke for lunch. The night before we had all received MRE’s to eat for lunch while at the rock. Other than the three Marines that are part of the program, nobody had ever tried these tasteful delights before. We all sat around and learned how to heat up our entrees and then began to enjoy our food.
It was an interesting experience. It made us all value the food that we get each day instead of this type of food. Just like the PT runs and the fire watches, it was important for us to know what the MRE’s are because if we are ever responding to a disaster or another event there is a good chance that we would be eating these. While they may not be the most enjoyable, when you are hungry, you will eat whatever is placed in front of you. After lunch we continued on rappelling and climbing, making sure that everyone had the opportunity to try both. During times when we weren’t doing either, we got the opportunity to speak with one another, getting to learn about what was going on at other parks and overall further getting to know each other. Some people realized that climbing is something that they may want to add into their list of things they want to find in a park. We are realizing how many opportunities there are for each and every one of us. If we don’t want to climb then we can always find a park that has another opportunity that we further enjoy.
After returning to camp, we began a new set of obstacles – the low ropes course. This was another opportunity to shake our initial groups up a little and give new people the chance to be leaders.
Each group did about three obstacles. The low ropes were extremely similar to the Leadership Reaction Course that we did the previous day. We saw that we are continuing to grow as leaders and as individuals within a group. As your group failed their mission, the intensity that you wanted to complete the task continued to grow. We all worked together to pull through and complete our missions. The final part of our day was a sort of letting loose, canoe race. We were put back into our original teams. Team leaders were not allowed to be in the boats because they would have their own race a little later – a kayak race. Two people were allowed per canoe and they had to paddle all the way down the small pond, get out and switch with their other two team members. There were a few individuals that did not know how to swim. Many individuals would opt out of participating, but not the ProRangers. All of them participated in the canoe race.
Two people even tipped their canoe. It was a lot of fun to see how teams interacted with one another – especially the teams who had never canoed before. They figured out how to get going and finish the race.
Once the canoe race was done, it was the Team Leaders turns to kayak down and back. The support from the teams was so amazing to see.

We had all come so far together this week and the canoe race was a fun way of expressing our ability to work with one another. After the racing was done we got the chance to goof off in the pond, both walking the line that spans the pond or using the zip line.
It was a great way to let loose after an intense few days. We were even able to get Don Sweet and the NCR Regional Chief into the pond with us. Although we have been pushed extremely hard so far, it has been a fun couple of days. We are learning so much about each other and about ourselves. Written by Team Leader Cailin Bean. Photos by Victoria Sweet.

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