TBX in Full Force

By Anne Mead

IMG_0001 TBX’ers have been busy! Learning new skills,

teaching evening programs, becoming leaders of the day, building bridges, moving earth, laughing, hiking, a pioneer skill afternoon, leading a base camp hiking group, and much much more! But before I get into all of that- let me just tell you that this group is phenomenal. We have a mix of TBX returners, other GRP Expedition participants, and completely new folks to GRP. Over the last week, they have really come together well and this concerted effort is demonstrated in the amount of work they have accomplished. We are so impressed with this group of young people! IMG_0004 IMG_0007 IMG_0016 IMG_0022
As far as the trip goes, the first couple of days were spent learning new skills like first aid, sharpening tools, basics of trail building, and getting oriented to their new community and daily leadership tasks. Each day, 2 expeditioners are the Leaders of the Day (LOD’s) and are in charge of keeping everyone in the crew on tasks. They are the ones who set the schedule, the pace, and determine when the work day is over. Our Expedition leaders are then debriefing with them at the end of the day to talk about what went well, what they would like to work on next time they are LOD’s and any goals they would like to set for themselves for the trip. TBX’ers are also in charge of leading the evening activities for the group. I know Dane led a great program the other night called Bus Stop! I do not know too many details- except that they can’t seem to stop talking about how great it was! Each expeditioner will have an opportunity to led one of these throughout the session. 

IMG_0024 IMG_0040Work wise- the crew has built a bridge to connect the Hemlock field to the Prayer Rock shelter! This was an amazing accomplishment and something GRP has needed for many many moons! Thank you TBX’ers. They have also made major headway on the river trail they are building. Unlike last years trail which was full of building structures, this year the big hurdle is earth work. The crew will be scrapping out a lot of a hillside to make a flat trail along the river. I had the pleasure of spending a bit of Thursday morning with the crew and I was amazed at how quickly they are moving through this challenge as a team. Part of the crew this last week also led a mentor hike for a group of base campers. They showed them the trail they are building and also took them to the river to become “Cherokee Head Dunkers!” A tradition here at GRP. To become a Cherokee Head Dunker you must hold your entire head underwater, then rise back up and face the rest of the group with a straight face. Then the group will try and make you laugh. If you are successful in keeping a straight face- you have been initiated into the Cherokee Head Dunker’s Club. 

Friday afternoon, the group got a break from the trail and came up to base camp. They spent the afternoon with Snowbear, one of our senior mentors, at the pioneer cabin making bamboo cups and drums. Afterwards, everyone jumped in the lake and washed off the days grime. The group will also come into camp this afternoon to have a mountain beach party and a cookout! It is a well deserved treat after a very hard and successful work week!