July is Catholic Youth Month and we kicked it off (in June) with a BANG as we teamed up with Wild GUYde Adventures for an outdoor Rock Climbing Trip to Hidden Rocks in Rockingham County. Two adults and 4 teens, George, Ken, Gabe, Tina, Patrick, and Frances, hiked 20 minutes in the George Washington National Forest to climb on God’s creation.
When I first started Rock Climbing in college I was constantly reminded of God’s beauty and his creation. I would hike to to “crag”, look up, and say “Thank you Lord for putting this beautiful piece of rock in front of me to climb”. I would sometimes feel that God had deliberately placed this rock formation in this place just so I could enjoy climbing it; sometimes I would think He did it just for me!
Rock Climbing isn’t just about enjoying God’s beautiful creation. It also has a lot to do with trust and fear. When you rock climb, you LITERALLY place your life in the hands of another human being. As you are climbing higher on the wall they are there protecting you in case you slip, making sure you never plummet to the ground. Our society today often hardens are hearts and it becomes increasingly more difficult to trust those around us. Part of trust is communication and communication is not only key for safety in Rock Climbing, but of course in everyday life. Our teens learned climbing lingo like, “On Belay” and “Climb On”, as they learned not only how to climb, but to belay.
We also learned a lot about overcoming our fears. I have met plenty of people who have told me they are afraid of heights. In my experience, most people are not actually afraid of heights; they are afraid of DYING from really high up!!! Rock Climbing is all about overcoming fears; a fear of heights, a fear of trust, a fear of not knowing where to go next, a fear of not succeeding, a fear of…fill in your own. Our guide for the day, Lester Zook, talked to us a lot about fear. He says, “Fear is a vapor–when you reach out and push against it, you discover there is nothing there. But if you turn and run from it, it gets bigger.” As we descended the mountain, our teens took some time to reflect on their own fears and what they would need to do to overcome them.
What are your fears? How can God help you overcome them?
If you want to contact Lester and schedule your own family outing, he can be found at www.wildguyde.com or 540-433-1637