But I'm a youth leader and the combined youth activity this week was rappelling, and I was committed to go, so I went. When I committed to be a chaperone, though, I did not intend to actually rappel. I thought I'd just bring my camera to ensure that no one suggested it.
We arrived at the church at 6:00am.
We had 34 youth and a handful of youth leaders (only two YW leaders).
My great plan to hide behind my camera lasted until the Bishop said to the kids, "Decide NOW that you're going to rappel. This is an opportunity for some of you to do something you've never done before. And it's an opportunity for some of you to conquer your fears." And then he roughly quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 "trust in the CORD with all thine heart..." (yeah, he's kinda hokey, but it was effective.) The wheels in my head started spinning and I kept thinking about that Eleanor Roosevelt quote:
"Do one thing every day that scares you."
Two hours later, our caravan of suburbans and minivans arrived at Clements Boy Scout Camp.
Surprise #1: We were rappelling off a tower, not a rock or a mountain...hmmm. I'm not sure why that was a surprise. There are no mountains in the Dallas area. We would have had to drive a lot farther than 2 hours to find one of those.
These two awesome guys/former YM leaders (in the red helmets) spent the night at the Boy Scout camp on Friday, so that they could have everything ready for us when we showed up at 8:30am.
After instructions, we all put on our harnesses. I decided to go ahead and put one on with the group JUST IN CASE I decided to actually go through with this rappelling craziness.
I hung on to that camera though and decided to just continue to take pictures and make sure every one of those kids had a chance to rappell before I went up there, just so none of them would miss out.
Eventually kids started coming down out of the tower. There were "experts" stationed at two windows at the 24 ft level, and one window at 36 ft.
24 feet doesn't sound that high until you're about to step off the edge of it.
TCD gave the Bishop a big, spontaneous hug when she finally touched the ground again.
And then finally, I could avoid it no longer. All the kids had gone down and I could hear people calling my name. It was my turn. So, I climbed up the 24 ft ladder inside the tower and put my trust in the equipment and the expert/home teacher tying the knot!
It was really kind of a cool, exhilarating feeling to be totally in charge of that rope. The hardest part was taking the first step off the edge.
My other YW counterpart came down with me and barely beat me touching the ground.
After we finished the 24 ft wall, I went over to the other side of the tower and did the 36 ft wall...just so that I could say I did it. Because really, if you're gonna do it, you should do it BIG, right?
Surprise #2: It was more fun than I expected it to be, and I'm so glad I can add RAPPELLING to the list of things I've done. I'd do that again in a minute!
Surprise #3: I can do hard things!