Summer Wilderness Trip Story: Conquering Fears in Year One

On the first night of our trip, we did a small zip line. One of our explorers, Luis, looked skeptical as we started to put on our harnesses and helmets. He was afraid of heights and wasn't nearly as excited as his teammates to tackle this obstacle. We explained that all of our challenges in Explore Austin were challenges by choice. If he didn't want to participate, that would be fine. We just asked that he put on his gear and go to the top of the zip line. He agreed and went to the top but chose not to do go down the zip line. We praised him for showing courage just by going up to the top.

Four days later, we were told that we would be going down the longest zip line in Texas, affectionately known as the Zip 3K because it is 3,000 feet long. As we hiked to our obstacle, Luis and I walked together and we talked about the challenge ahead. We talked about his fears and I tried to give him some words of encouragement while reminding him of the same suggestions. We just wanted him to put on the gear and go to the top of the 5 story tower. If, after hearing the instructions from our guides, he decided he didn't want to go down the zip, he didn't have to. After the guides finished Luis was sure that he didn't want to go down. All of the mentors tried to talk to him individually but Luis wasn't feeling it. We started to decide which mentors would hike down with him so we could join the team. While that was happening, Jeremy, one of our mentors, spoke to Luis. He explained to Luis that he was also afraid and really wanted to go down the zip but needed some encouragement. Since two people went at the same time, Luis and Jeremy agreed to go down together. We were all so proud of them for conquering their fears. This is what Explore Austin is all about.

Well done Jeremy and Luis!

Narrated by Sean Banks, 2022 Wayside Boys Mentor