Zip Away!

Posted on 7/29/15 by Craig Dawson

Have you been on the zip line at camp? Whether it was the old one, tucked into the woods just off the blue trail, or the new one that sends you flying over Triangle Lake, chances are you overcame some element of fear in facing the zipline challenge. Dan Aune, Ewok coordinator, has transitioned from having a fear of heights to being trained to help campers work through their fears on the zip line. Here's his story:

It may not be a new addition this year, but the zip line across the lake has really taken a place in my heart this summer. I've been coming to camp for a long time, and the old zip line in front of the treehouse was the obstacle I remember most distinctly from my younger years—it was the high ropes element that helped me conquer my fear of heights.

This year I got zip line trained and have been running it with Erik, our fantastic ropes coordinator, and I can't tell you how many kids I helped get down from their first zip line ride who were shaking with a potent mix of fear and excitement. It's always initially pure fear in their eyes, their legs are shaking, and they can't fully listen to what I'm saying because of the adrenaline coursing through their veins. But once they come across the lake the first words to come out of their mouths every time is "THAT WAS SO COOL!"

My coming around full circle on the zip line has really made me realize that camp is just one of those places perfectly equipped to help us conquer our fears. It helps push us outside our comfort zone, it gives us challenges we have to beat and obstacles we have to surpass, all of which we wouldn't necessarily come up against in our normal lives.

At one time or another I was horrified of heights, I was terrified of spiders, I was even scared of living in a cabin full of people away from my parents for more than a night, and I've conquered every single one of those fears simply because camp put me in those situations and showed me they weren’t as bad as I thought.

Now that I'm an adult I see this exact same process happen with campers. Every time a kid says that he or she can't do this when on the first zip line platform, facing the steel wire they're about to fly down, it puts a smile on my face. That’s because I know each one of them is about to suck in all that fear, and leap off that platform just like I did at 12, and change their life in a way they wouldn't have been able to without the experiences offered to them at camp.
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