Our grandson, Skyler, turned 16 in April. I wanted to do something special for him, something like what we planned on his 13th birthday since both ages are rather significant milestones in a young person’s life. On his 13th we had surprised him by taking him to SkyVenture Arizona, an indoor skydiving facility that uses a state-of-the-art skydiving wind tunnel.
When we arrived at the facility, he was even more surprised. We had invited a group of his friends to meet us there to celebrate Sky. There is something special about facing a scary, new experience with friends who are willing to do it with you. They had a blast!
Now at 16, I wanted to step it up a bit. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. After running it by my husband, Bob, and by Sky’s parents, we solidified the plans and reservations were made. When the day arrived, we all headed north to Flagstaff for the weekend to experience the Extreme Adventure course located in the Fort Tuthill County Park.
The Extreme Adventure consists of five different courses which become progressively more challenging based on the level of difficulty and, of course, elevation. There are approximately 17 different obstacles including several different zip lines. These lines take participants from one tree to another where they face their next challenge – anything from navigating a wobbly bridge, hanging nets, swinging planks to cross, and other “suspended” challenges.
I was intrigued with what happened after we all arrived. The guys had their gear properly fitted and secured before they sat down to go through the mandatory 30-minute training. Sky gathered his friends, formed a circle, and challenged them to make a pact that each of them would finish all five courses, including the dreaded black course (which was at the highest elevation and the most difficult and would test their upper body strength to the limits). I watched one of the instructors shake his head, as if to say, “They’ll never make it.” One of Sky’s friends admitted he was afraid of heights! None the less, all four joined their hands in the middle of the circle with a shake to seal the deal.
Because the facility is in the county park, those of us who were less adventurous were able to walk the course cheering them on. I watched as Sky and his friends confronted each task, facing and defeating every moment of self-doubt, apprehension, and fear of heights.
How do you handle the obstacles in your life? The challenges you didn’t expect? The hard tasks that involve doubt, apprehension, or fear? The pain associated with a betrayal, divorce, or loss of a loved one?
You do not have to do it alone! Find friends who will cheer you on and those willing to go through it with you. There is something empowering when we face tough times and go through challenges with friends who are willing to come along side of us and do the same. Make a pact to finish the course together, encouraging and spurring each other on each step along the way.
Sky and his friends finished each task with which they were confronted that day. As they finished, I quickly glanced around to see if perhaps the doubting instructor had witnessed the feat. He was nowhere to be found but it did not really matter. The smile on Sky’s face said it all. I could not help but wonder if perhaps they all had surpassed their expectations that day.
Are you willing to face your apprehensions and fears to overcome what you are facing right now? Enroll in one of our courses and invite a friend to do it with you so you can walk through it together. We will be there to cheer you on each step of the way! You just might be surprised at the peace of mind that will surpass your expectations.
I look forward to hearing from you and walking your journey with you.
Bobbie Rill, M.A., LPC
Advanced Certified Grief Recovery Specialist/Natl. Trainer
The Grief & Wellness Group, Inc.