I was a very quiet and awkward pre-teen, like most at that age. But I had an almost debilitating shyness, fear of crowds and lack of self confidence. When I was in sixth grade, my Dad chaperoned a trip with the Environmental Club to Frost Valley so I could go. Some might think that saying Frost Valley helped changed my life would be an overstatement, but it is not.
I had never pushed myself like I did at that weekend camp before. I climbed the chimney, and to me that was the biggest and best thing I had ever done. I had conquered fear, had persevered and made it to the top even though fear snaked its way through my heart. That is a big thing for an eleven year old. Having that kernel of knowledge you can keep inside, the idea that I CAN accomplish something against all odds. That knowledge stayed with me, and I brought it out when I needed it most. I said, “I can!” when I was a single Mom going through college and working two jobs all at the same time. I said, “I will!” when I was looking for a job in the worst possible economic times. If that tiny seed of confidence hadn’t been planted within me at such a young age, I am unsure where I would be today.
Frost Valley gave me something else, another gift that I bear today: science and wonder. No one in our group wanted to stay up late to go to the observatory, but I begged my Dad to take me and we went.
I had always loved science, be it digging for rocks in the yard or capturing bugs to observe. But there was something downright religious about seeing Saturn that night. It was REAL, not a picture in a book. That moment is when I discovered AWE for science, and wonder.
Years later, I would go to college for Environmental Resource Management because of my awe for science and love of nature. I now work with the USGS in Arizona studying various water issues out west.
Thank you Frost Valley. For giving me the confidence I needed to follow my dreams. I leave this with you, in the words of the late Poet Robert Frost:
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”