Before it Begins

The Girl’s Rendezvous 2009 – Ropes Team Building Exercise

I was sure that I was not going to take on another program. I was going to focus my creative energy on Crescent Moon Girls. However, when the variables of the perfect collaborators, meeting on only three weekends throughout the school year and the love I have for these specific teens all landed in my lap I couldn’t resist. From there the program began to take shape. The caretakers of Wild Earth had come up with a basic concept – A program to keep these teens connected as they move into their first or second year of high school – and from there we could run with it. We decided to call it “Ropes” inspired by the teaching that comes from the Bushmen of the Kalahari that says that as we deepen our connection to the natural world what we are actually doing is building ropes to self, others, the Earth and the Unknown.

The program really began to take shape in my mind when we decided the dates. The first weekend was Halloween, the second New Year’s and the third is not on a holiday but it is in Spring which will feel like a holiday after our winter trip.

At the Girl’s Rendezvous I asked one of the girls if she was going to join us for Ropes – her Mom really wanted her to do it. She said she wasn’t sure and then asked if the dates were really on Halloween and New Years. Then she asked me what that was about – I paused – I heard one of my mentors in my head “Teens want it real” – so I went for it. I shared a little about my experience as a teen navigating through messy Halloween and New Year’s Eve celebrations. I spoke about shifting the culture around these celebrations – away from their current damaging nature and more toward celebrations with meaning and depth. She listened, and thought for a few moments as my attention shifted to what someone else was saying. She then turned to me a few minutes later and said, “I think I want to do it.” So this is where my inspiration lies for this program, in building a new culture for teenagers around otherwise damaging/hollow holiday celebrations. The teen from this story is now signed up for the program.

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