We have grown bigger and we want to keep the camping trip new and exciting, but it's important to remember why we go. Is it to train together? To go on a trip as a group? To get away from parents? Have fun as a team? Run on trails? It is all of those reasons and more. We need to keep in mind what are our core values and what we want to teach the members of our team.
On these trips I have seen young people cook their first pancakes, learn to mop floors, be responsible for themselves, older sisters give their little brothers hugs in moments of homesickness, form life long friendships between teammates, older girls help younger put make up on for a big night out, tears of frustration from not being able to finish "ballbusters", tears of accomplishment from finishing their first ten miler around Bemidji Lake, and the sharing of dreams and goals around campfires.
The reason I have gone on this camping trip for so many years include the above reasons. But there are many other lessons I hope they learn like how learn to take care each other, how to work together, to set goals, and come closer as a team. That last part, "come closer as a team", that overrides everything. Our team is close on this trip it gives them time they develop relationships, argue like siblings, work out conflicts, and become best friends. These important relationships often begin with our camping trip.
The reasons we go on this trip are important to me and I want as many on the team to go as possible. We have always tried to keep the cost to a minimum. The one time we haven't gone to our regular location of Bemidji State Park was in 2010 when we took the train to Glacier Park in Montana. It was an amazing trip and we got to experience some new things. But, it was expensive, and because of that cost I know not everyone was able to attend. Also, we didn't get to do some of the things that we use to teach our values, like cooking together, and our campfire talks. New people who joined the team weren't able to go with because of having to commit to going on the trip six months earlier.
We have become a bigger team and we are always trying to find new ways give our young people a better experience. But I don't want this chase of new experiences to take away from our core values. I don't want someone to be unable to have the opportunity to become part of this amazing team, made up of so many special people, because of money or simply the timing of when they joined. For that reason we will continue to go to Bemidji State Park and not Glacier Park. Bemidji State Park has provided the foundation for so many dreams and goals to be thought of and achieved. It has also provided the opportunity for countless friendships to be formed and a diverse group of individuals to find common goals to come together to form a family.