Wednesday concluded the StandWatch Academy Summer Western Expedition. This meant that it was our last early morning, our last car ride, last plane trip, and final day as a group before some of us wouldn’t see each other for quite a while. It was a mixture of tired and bittersweet as we all groggily awoke at 3:30 am, for our early drive to the Denver airport. Some would describe being with the same group of people for such a long time as a pain; I for one would beg to differ. I have truly enjoyed my time spent with this group of people and will miss each and every one of them for the different laughs, smiles, knowledge, and joy they brought to this trip.
Once we arrived in Denver, we said goodbye to the rental cars, boarded a shuttle to the airport, and began the process of checking our bags and going through security. Fortunately, it was a smooth, easy undertaking, allowing us to have plenty of time for a quick breakfast and coffee before boarding our flight to Columbus. Our flight attendant made the plane ride particularly enjoyable with fun quizzes, M&M’s, and jokes. After we landed, we located our bags and cars and began the three-hour drive back to Teays Valley, WV. Around 5:00, we were delivered to our families and said farewell to our friends. I turned in my Team Mom clipboard and pen and finished my duties as a student. Thus, I went home, and the trip was over. However, my journey in leadership was not.
The summer StandWatch trip has taught me many things. The importance of your relationships with others, the value of good leadership skills and being responsible, and the meaning of the word honor. Yet, none as much as the lesson of being flexible would have the greatest influence on me. Flexibility is having the ability to go with the flow; a willingness to change or compromise. Something I lacked and was in need of before this trip. Toward the end of the expedition, the schedule changed, putting me in a situation where I was faced with the decision to be upset at the change, or embrace the new. As difficult as it may have been coming to terms with the change, I had to learn that it was both out of my control, and something bound to happen. This is also applicable to my nonprofit business idea; things will not always go the way I plan or perform to the extent I would hope. Would I love to believe that I am in complete control of everything? Absolutely! But the truth is, I’m not.
Sunday truly brought this information to light with the situation in Canyonlands National Park. Without the necessary change of plans from the Grand Tetons to Canyonlands, we would have been unable to help a woman in desperate need of medical attention and care. Sitting underneath the shelter in the storm next to the husband who was unsure whether or not his wife was going to be alright was one of the biggest eye openers I can remember. Although the day did not go according to plan, or what I would have originally wanted to happen, it went according to God’s plan which is ultimately far beyond what anyone else can fathom or remotely understand. I am very grateful that we were not only able to have a good day ourselves but impact the lives of others in a GREAT way.
This trip has truly taught me the importance of flexibility and the influence it can have on the rest of the group, and those among us. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to have an amazing time with friends of old and new, to experience scenery and sights I never imagined possible, to do things I never thought I could, and learn things about life and leadership that will impact me for days to come.