Building Relationships Through Adventuring
As a kid, I always look forward to my next adventure. Fears did not hold me back as I explored dark caves and explored the sandy dunes of Southern Utah. I had no fear of being kicked in the face as I dove to the ground to block soccer balls bound for the goal. Even when I had injuries, it didn't stop me. I just tried that much harder. Then came the summer after my 15th birthday and I found myself dangling from a mountain with a cracked helmet and a cracked skull. To say the least, I don't remember much from the repelling accident but something clicked in me as I sailed through high school and graduated college — I no longer pushed myself into new adventures. Rather I choose to remain 'safe' which translated to level roads rather than a roller-coaster of adventure.
As part of the Family Forward team, I was thrilled when we set out to make 2014 the year of 'Getting Our Adventure On'. To be brave and not hold back from new experiences, to push myself out of my comfort zone, and make new cherished memories. As we drove down to Zion Ponderosa for our event, I made a bargain with myself. I wouldn't push myself to go repelling — I'll work my up to it — but I would push myself to experience new things and truly make connections. Something amazing happens when you get a group of women who have committed to getting their adventure on. They push themselves but more importantly they pushed each other. We cheered each other as we took aim at clay pigeons and crTheuise through the wilds of Zions National Park.
So what kind of activities push a group of women outside their comfort zones and re-energize them to take on their futures? Activities that a mom with college-aged children and a young woman just graduated from college can both enjoy and build relationships. In four words, Family Forward: Weekend Adventure.
Building Relationships Through Adventure Activities
Grab your stylish helmet and goggles as you set out on your very own ATV. We played follow the leader as we flew over dirt paths, whirled through green mountain pines, and burn rubber as we traversed up and down ditches. Though conversation wasn't quite available to us, I still felt a connection to these women as we rode on. Hand signals passed from front to back kept us moving forward together, as a team. Waiting for a friend to brave the ditch and cheer as she came out on top.
It was time to load up and head out to the beautiful Pine Knoll observation point with a group ready to tackle the rocky paths of wilderness. As we roared up the mountain, we were able to get to know each other more. Conversations grew from the typical get-to-know-you conversations to those of good friends from sharing funny stories and making our own inside jokes about Clifford the Big Red Unimog. Once we arrived, we were surrounded on all sides with views of nature's grandeur which of course, we took pictures of laughing as we posed in fun and hilarious blogger style. On the ground? No problem. Hanging out from the Unimog? You know we are down for that.
There's nothing as fierce as a girl with rifle except when it is a group of women with rifles. You aint gonna mess with this tough chicks. As we each took turns impressing each other with our Army Ranger-esque skills. Cheers sound as clay pigeons explode against the blue sky. As turns are taken, we learned more about each other and that some were there for simple a weekend away from the family - leaving dad and the kids to their own devices. Others were there to experience new things. But we were all there to prepare our Zombie Apocalypse training.
Pack a water bottle, smartphone, and DSLR for this low-stress and active adventure hiking to Checkerboard Mesa - the most photographed landscape of Zion's National Park. Breathing in the fresh air brought about a serenity that one can only find in nature. This adventure is easily the ideal choice for getting to know your entire group as you walk well-traveled paths and compare notes on high school proms and the fabulous hair you won't ever forget. Our breathe was taken as we reached the observation point and gazed out at the natural landscape formed through ever moving natural elements - much like our own lives. A time for deep reflection and an alliance of women ready to climb the difficult trails of life.
Everyone is wondering what horse they are going to get. The pretty one? Perhaps the troublemaker. For me, I was ecstatic to be paired with Tweedledum - a known perpetrator of trying to eat grass during the ride along the trail. I was ready to take whatever grassy cravings came over him and his round belly. Soon enough we were all chatting and laughing as our horses acted out their own funny habits. Sharing in jokes of horses who didn't get along, those whom seemed to want to be connected at the hip, and every bit as funny as Alice's pair of Tweedles.
You can't believe you signed up for this, your kids won't believe you and so you proceed to take dozens of pictures documenting your cool adventure moment. By far the most adventurous activity of the weekend as you dangle from a rope and repel a 100 ft down into slot canyons. Crazy? Maybe just a little bit but then again, have you seen our leggings? We were ready to soar down the side of the mountain in true blogger style. Conquering fear of heights and putting your life in the hands of trained professionals was made easier as we shared lunch and talked about what brought each of us to facing our fears.
Not only did we get to play adrenaline junkie for a weekend but by sharing in adventuress we were able to build relationships that will continue into the future.
What are your favorite 'get your adventure on' activities for building relationships?