One of the youth who experienced the power of BCM’s programs was Teddy, a 16-year-old. Teddy comes from a single-parent home where he had to help his parent out of an abusive relationship. For the first time he experienced the tranquility of the Boundary Waters, canoeing, and trying his hand at fishing. I must say trying, since, unfortunately, Teddy was not that successful. His first day out, Teddy hooked a fish, and was so excited he got his line tangled with four others. Many hours were spent laughing and untangling lines, but there was no fish for dinner that night. The next day, Teddy tried helping another fisherman by grabbing a fish that was landed. Again, poor Teddy was not able to hold on and the fish splashed back into the lake. By the third day Teddy was “helping” from afar, with a smile on his face and encouraging words for the others.
Teddy told his mom that his trip was the most amazing experience of his life, specifically because of the relationship he developed with one of the mentors, Devon. Teddy had never played cards before the trip, but Devon took him under his wing. They had many conversations while Devon taught Teddy to play. At the end of the trip Devon gave Teddy his cribbage board, and stopped at a drugstore to pick up a deck of cards so Teddy could continue playing. On the drive home Teddy said he’d never felt so appreciated in his life. We all believe in the power of nature, but it is those moments with caring mentors that will stick with our students forever.