“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.”
— Chinese proverb
Last week ten intrepid students from Seattle School district’s skills center spent seven days on the longboat Bear. They left from Anacortes and spent the days traveling through the San Juan Islands. They called themselves The Bear Necessities after their longboat and the team agreements that helped them function.
With the beach and the boat as their classrooms, students learned the skills of sailing, rowing, navigation, camping, cooking, and living in a large group.
Students were surprised at how easily they made friends and how challenging it was to meet our basic needs of survival- feeding ourselves, wearing the right clothes, building our sleeping shelters on boat and land, and adding fun on top of it all.
Some tried on leadership for the first time, while others had to be patient and wait for group members who moved more slowly. We shared our challenges and highlights, checked in on our goals. We grew blisters and calluses on our hands from rowing, sang songs and snacked to keep ourselves happy, delighted at the smiley faces of seals popping up around us, and dipped our hands in the dark waters of the night to stir up the bioluminescence.
We grew better in the kind of magic that can only come from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, risking vulnerability, and showing up.