For a 15-year-old teenager like *Elizabeth, the physical height of the Alpine Tower at Lutherock is a frightening proposition, but when trusting others is an issue, it can be even more difficult, if not impossible.
“Elizabeth is a straight A student who gives 100% to her schoolwork. She also puts 100% into building up walls and keeping others at a distance,” her mother shared. “Elizabeth has a small circle of people she trusts, and it seems the older she gets the truer that becomes.”
But Elizabeth loves camp. “It is the one place she will sort of let her guard down,” said her mother. She has attended camp at least one week a summer since the first grade. This year, she registered for an Outdoor Adventure Program at Lutherock. “I decided I would try something new this year,” Elizabeth said.
During the beginning of the week she enjoyed hiking and other activities that kept her feet on the ground. Through those activities, she began opening up to Cassie, her counselor. “She was really good at just listening,” Elizabeth told her mother. “She was cool with me being me.”
Like with her schoolwork, Elizabeth is an “all-in” type of camper, but on Thursday, she found herself standing in front of the Alpine Tower looking up in fear.
“I didn’t realize how high in the air we were going to be,” she shared. “I did NOT want to do it. I just kept looking up and thinking, I can’t do that.”
Cassie, realized a shift in her enthusiasm for this new challenging activity. She talked her through getting her harness on, and what was going to happen as she climbed.
“She told me that I would be strapped to her and she would be controlling my ropes if I slipped or if anything else happened to me,” Elizabeth reflected.
Through steady and affirming coaching from Cassie, Elizabeth began making her way up the tower. After climbing most of the way up, she slipped. “I totally freaked out,” she said. “I was frozen in time.”
“Then I heard Cassie’s voice. She just kept saying, ‘I’ve got you. You are safe.’ And somehow, I knew that I was.” She smiled.
Elizabeth needed a safe person on belay. She needed to know that trust was possible, and because of the steady, patient listening ear of her counselor, Cassie, she found the trust she needed to climb back on the tower and make her way to the top.
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