- George

Alaska Is...

       Big and bounteous
       Bold and barren
       Brown, blue and bright green
       Bumpy and bad-smelling
       Broiled and boiled
       Bodacious and brazen
       Alaska is…beauteous

Final Reflections

        I struggled my second year of college. The classes in my chosen Major were harder, the year’s events were less fresh and exciting, and things were getting more serious. I saw my faculty advisor, whose opinion was that while this was common, the problem was not as it appeared. In fact, it was a time of rapid growth, responsibility and exploration, and that all this lead to some anxiety and nervousness. In fact, he felt that the “terrible two’s” of childhood were really more of a problem of the parents, with the inquisitive child’s rapid acquisition of information and experience being simply too much for the young parent.

        This was my second time, in as many years, in Alaska. While almost all of the sights, landscape and events were familiar; the trip was a whole new experience. While to be familiar meant somewhat more responsibility and higher expectations, and therefore some anxiety, I learned yet more about the native cultures, the natural history of the land, the stories of its settlement and development, and things about the local wildlife. I encountered things that I had not, such as Dall porpoises. This was enjoyable and stimulating for me. I again saw bears and eagles, foxes and sea otters, and on this trip, finally, I saw the big mountain, Denali.

        The constants between the two trips were the camaraderie of the returning adults and leaders, and the growth seen in the students and leaders during the trip. To see a transformation in a young person from doubt and anxiety to determination and leadership in the course of one several hour climb up a mountain or glacier is truly an incredible thing, and I was privileged to witness it on more than one occasion. This is the opportunity that this program presents for young people in it. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.