Enjoy the little things is a survival trick that works. And a consistent theme with the graduates of our 28-day teen apprenticeship course.
Survival trick enjoy the little things
And Khalil is no exception. Khalil Edson first came to us as a student of our 28-Day Teen Apprenticeship program. I am proud of all my students and staff who have discovered for themselves the grit it takes to overcome obstacles and challenges along the road of life.
I’m particularly proud of Khalil for he has shown with each new challenge, the mindset it takes to overcome and thrive. This then is a story of Khalil about his time with us in the wilds of Northern California. ~Mark Wienert
“Hey Mark, it’s Khalil, I’m going to college on the island of Palau near the Philippines and really enjoying it.
Just recently, I began scuba diving, have done a bunch of fishing, and have pretty much just been exploring. Recently I was assigned to write a narrative essay, and my topic was based on your camp and a particular experience I had there last year. I want to share it with you and your students. I will be back home in California sometime in May.
It was the beginning of July, and I was in beautiful Northern California at High Camp overlooking Mount Shasta. This was my second time participating in a twenty-eight day camp into the wilderness with Lifesong Wilderness Adventures and Mark Wienert.
My first time, I started as a student and I fell in love with the experience. This summer, I could not refuse Mark’s invitation to return as a staff member.
My experience in the outdoors goes back as far as I can remember. That, along with these two past years at camp has made me consider myself a ‘survivor’. And that is what I was doing, once again, in the wilderness of Northern California.
How to overcome difficult situations
Surviving is a very general term. It can be used to describe so many situations. In essence, it is using what you have to overcome difficult situations you are faced with. One night during those twenty-eight days, I was faced with a lot of struggles that taught me two important life lessons that I still reflect on today.
Life lesson one. Your body can stand a lot more than you think
My group and I were on an overnight “survival” trip where we brought a minimal amount of supplies in order to test our bodies and push our comfort levels. We did not bring any tents or sleeping bags, only a knife, a small amount of food, clothes, our backpacks, and a few miscellaneous items like bug spray and sunscreen.
A survival trick
We set up camp just before sundown, decided where to sleep, collected water, and started a small cooking fire. Once we finished our dinner of just two potatoes and flour cooked into bread over the fire, we settled down for bed. The sun was down and the cold night air was prevalent. A survival trick we had learned from Mark was to sleep while digesting our food so we could get that little extra added warmth needed to sleep. I fell asleep immediately.
We did not account for how cold it was going to get. I was abruptly (nature can really be rude) awakened by furious gusts of wind and near freezing temperatures. It was a struggle to go back to sleep.
To stay warm I ate trail mix and did push-ups
To stay warm I ate trail mix and did push-ups, which only worked short term. I would sleep, wake up, do push-ups, and repeat. Once it was around 4:00 am in the morning I’d had it. I gave up on trying to sleep.
Life lesson number two, enjoy the little things
There was no escape from the cold. I bundled up in all my clothes, powered down water and trail mix, did push-ups, and just waited for the sun to come up, for the wind to die down. I waited and waited. My prayers for warmth and relief went unanswered. Life lesson number two, enjoy the little things in life. My prayers were not being answered, so I took matters into my hands and started a fire which was hard because my extremities had started losing some function.
The fire brightened up all the dark
Once the fire was all set and flames were roaring, the fire brightened up all the dark, shadowy unknown objects, adding an orange glow to everything in sight. I was content. The fire made me comfortable with my surroundings. The fire brought back familiar warm feelings of home instead of pure darkness and toe-numbing weather. I ended up drifting back to sleep, and my fire died down.
It was one of the toughest, most uncomfortable nights
When I awoke to the sun shining right on my face, instantly warming my body. I began removing layers of clothes immediately: two sweaters, a jacket, a beanie, a few pairs of socks, and a few layers on my legs were no longer necessary. It was crazy how drastically the weather changed. It was one of the toughest, most uncomfortable nights I had to endure, but in the end, it made me stronger because I saw how far I could push my body if needed.
The world tries to teach you lessons in very odd ways. The secret is taking them with your best foot forward so you can learn and grow. That arduous night in the cold taught me I can endure more than I thought, how to solve problems right in front of me, and an appreciation for the small pleasures in life—like a warm fire and the morning sun shining down on me.”
Thank you for having me at camp Mark.