Team Everest, Ride Through History 2017
2/17/17 DAY ONE, by Skylar Prior
Curiosity, excitement, and eagerness flood our bodies as we say good bye to our loved ones. For some this is the longest time away from our small town; but for most this is just another break from reality. Parents start waving us off on the journey after we hop on the bus. The bus isn’t a bus, it’s a time machine; a time machine where every trip starts at the end of the last one. Leaders don’t seem bossy, they talk as if they’re on their 9th grade trip. Student leaders are important because they’re like older siblings for the short time you’re with them. I don’t have an older sibling, so the leaders mean a lot to me. The adult leaders are like the glue to the group; they never let anyone feel unattached.
Six hour drives are nothing when you are on a bus with spunky personalities. Laughter fills the bus almost to the point of exploding! Games are played, songs are sung, and stomachs are filled by the shoe boxes on the ground, life is perfect on the big green bus. As soon as we know it, we are at the church unpacking our stuff for the night. Cook crew is cooking while others just hang out. Hot dogs and salad is served for supper. Meals are important on the trip, not just for the nutrition in our bodies but also for bonding with the group, the family.
Basketball, swimming, and showering is held at the recreation center in Connecticut. Not very often do we get to shower on the first night of the trip, but I couldn’t have been happier! The water felt amazing after a long day on the road. After we showered, Air hockey was played. I won 8-3 but my partner did a good job. Once we got back, everyone was a little tired, but we still managed to do a quick journaling, and then we hit the sack.
2/18/17 DAY TWO, by Skylar Prior
Hannah sings to us every morning. It’s a fun way to wake up, when you’ve had a good nights sleep. Today, we headed off to Pennsylvania to see the liberty bell museum and also the constitution center. The constitution center was interesting because of the show we saw about the constitution. There was a hologram light show with a man who was talking about the constitution. It was fun because learning about history is something I’ve always enjoyed. The liberty bell was inspiring to look at because a lot of people have never seen it before. Once we were done with the museums, we ran the Rocky Steps (!), then we went to Urban Promise in New Jersey, where the Urban Trekkers met us with arms wide open. They were wicked welcoming. Team K2 arrived a little bit after us, and we all played some games in the parking lot of the school. We all shared a bunch of pizza, with good conversation and laughter from the beginning. We then played games and went into stations. The stations were learning about watersheds, team building activities, and we played a game called “eyes, mouth, body”. The watershed station was a presentation by Syra, Destiny, and Ms Vicki from Urban Trekkers. It was about how they test water.
2/19/17 DAY THREE, by Connor Adams
Today we got a tour of Camden NJ. We got to walk on the Franklin bridge. We could see a beautiful view of Philly. [___/\__O_](TOTALLY legit picture emoticon that Natasha made) We got a little bit of community service hours in by painting a thrift shop that Urban Promise is opening in the next few months. Some of us went ice skating, and some of us bought food and talked. Then we got EVEN MORE food, at a Philly Cheese Steak place. It was amazing to all be under the lights as a full team, never feeling like three separate teams. We then got back and played some games. Unfortunately, K2 and Urban Trekkers left that night, so we shared highlights once everyone left, then went to bed right after. We all slept a little sad that night, but excited for the rest of the trip!
2/20/17 DAY FOUR, by Natasha Shacklett (NeNe) and Keegan Fitzgeral (Keegs/Brows)
NeNe and Keegs here. After a wonderful few days with K2 and Urban Trekkers we headed off early in the AM to DC! Well, to the church in Alexandria, VA where we were to stay for the next four nights. Before getting too far we stopped at a local YMCA for swim and (much needed) showers, the dip certainly reenergized the whole group. On the drive down there were some bus games, but mostly everyone participated in a record setting three hour dance party!! We picked up Pam in Virginia, went to our first food shop of the trip, and enjoyed a hardy meal of potatoes DEAL WITH IT. The night ended with a game of big booty (an Everest favorite), and journaling.
2/21/17 DAY FIVE, By NeNe and Keegs
First full day in DC! Even though we got an early start, we hit traffic on the way into the city – but that’s okay! Us Trekkers love spending time on the bus. We started off the day with a walk to the Capitol Building where we were signed up for a tour. Paul, our tour guide, showed us the history that took place there but kept it real by cracking some jokes. One of our favorite parts was the painting on the top of the rotunda, depicting George Washington as a god. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we all felt lucky to have a chance to stand in a place of history.
After the tour we walked back to Union station to have a quick lunch and regroup before heading to the Holocaust Museum. For most of us it was the first time at the Holocaust museum. Upon starting we were given a passport of a real person who experienced the Holocaust, putting us right in the shoes those individuals. We split into small groups but made our way through the museum at our own pace, giving us space to understand and process the exhibits and artifacts. One part of the tour that really struck the team was a hallway full of shoes. Shoes that had been worn by real people in the Holocaust, the very same shoes that had been taken away from them when they reached concentration camps and killing centers. The smell of the shoes hung heavy in the air.
The museum left everyone in a somber state as we walked back to Union Station. That made us all pretty hungry so as a treat Hannah let us explore Union Station and buy some dinnah. On the bus ride back brownies, made by our lovely driver Pam, were handed out – a much appreciated treat.
Reaching the church we gathered in a room full of couches for games and journaling. Another group favorite, Whose Your Daddy, was played. We moved into a more serious tone for the journal activity where everyone was asked to share a quote they had found in the Holocaust museum and write about what it meant to them. A quote that was often shared that night was about the tattoos people received upon entering the camps. The tattoos worked to dehumanize the individuals and would stay with them the rest of their lives.
“My number is 174517, we have been baptized, we will carry the tattoo on our left arm until we die. ” – Drimo Levi
2/22/17 DAY SIX, by NeNe and Keegs
After a long day yesterday we were able to sleep in and participate in some light-hearted activities. As a group, we all decided through consensus which Smithsonian Museums we wanted to visit that day. First up was the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, it was full of interactive exhibits which was a team favorite. There were life-size models of planes and space ships that we could play in and it was a blast (pun intended). Next, was the Natural History Museum. We split up into small groups, some of the favorite exhibits to visit were the Crystal and Gems, Mammals, the Butterfly tunnel, and the dinosaurs and mummies. I think we all would have liked to spend the day there, but we were on a tight schedule to get to the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl!!!
If you have been to DC but not the Chili Bowl you should take another trip. Some of the student leaders talked up their Ben’s Chili Bowl experiences so everyone was pumped to eat where the stars (and presidents) have eaten. We ordered hot dogs, cheeseburgers, fries – anything smothered in chili and watched a video detailing the history of Ben’s Chili Bowl. It was a historic site, started in the ’50s and seeing riots, construction, happy faces and full bellies. After dinner some students went to the gift shop where they were met by a friendly shopkeeper who gave discounts and good vibes to all.
We headed back into the city just after dusk for the night time tour of the monuments and memorials on the national mall. We started our journey at the Lincoln memorial and slowly made our way through the mall stopping at the World War Two Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Wall Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and finally the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. It was breathtaking to see them all lit up at night, but hard to fathom the sheer number of lives lost during wars our country had faced. Many were left wondering if there was a better way than war and death.
An impactful and memorable quote found on the South Wall of the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial that we journaled about the next night was:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”
This led to some deep and uplifting conversations about change that we can make in our own lives, and learn from the history of our country, and our world.
2/23/17 DAY SEVEN,
Today, we went started our day at Arlington Cemetery to walk through quietly and witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After all of our conversations during the memorial tour last night, and all of the emotions that were coming up, this felt really important to experience. After the Changing of the Guard, we went to the Amphitheater to regroup and Hannah told us that we had about a half-hour to spread out and reflect on what has been coming up for us during the memorial tour and at Arlington Cemetery. This felt necessary. We were all in need of solitude and reflection. We came back together in the Amphieter in circle formation, and one person at a time, we shared our reflection and had a really powerful and meaningful discussion.
We made our way quietly back to the bus, ate some lunch and headed off to our mystery activity, which ended up being the Smithsonian National Zoo! We got to split into small groups and enjoy all that the zoo had to offer – elephants, pandas, koala bears, amphibians, biting ducks, you name it! When we arrived back at the church, we made dinner, played games and did a journaling prompt led by Natasha. It was a great day, can’t believe we are starting to be homeward bound tomorrow!
2/24/17 DAY EIGHT, By Karizma Chickering (Chicken Wing)
Today was the day that we left D.C. It was a sad departure because so much had happened, and because this was our main destination. From this point on, we were slowly making our way back home.
We woke up around 6:30, got ready and cleaned up St. John’s Lutherans church as well as the bus. She sure needed a cleanin’. I gotta say, we are one messy bunch. So after we cleaned up ole’ Daisy, we hopped on and departed from the church and headed to our next destination. Now, my biological clock isn’t that great and I’m not good at time keeping anyways, so my guesstimates probably aren’t very accurate. So, please bare with me. My guess is that we were on the bus for about seven hours. During this time we stopped for the bathroom plenty of times because we have pretty small bladders and drink a lot of coffee and water. Most of the group had Wendy’s, pizza and/or Dunkin for lunch. After lunch, we had a dance party, which I feel like I can speak for the whole group on this one, we were desperately in need of one and yearning for it. It probably lasted for about an hour and a half, but don’t take my word for it. It was great, everyone was having a good time and most of the music was good. Shane is a pretty decent d.j, but Sadie and Lauren are the true d.j’s of daisy.
After the dance party, we arrived at the YMCA. We mostly swam, played air hockey, ping pong and finally took showers. We hadn’t taken showers since Monday. I feel like this is kind of a problem because we are around each other 24/7 and we are a group of smelly teenagers. Perfume and cologne can subdue the smell only for so long. After the showers and the hours of fun, we headed back to the church from the first night of the trip. We ate pizza torts, and then did quotes of the day and shoutouts, then directly to bed. So that pretty much sums up the night. Most people weren’t feeling good, and it was just an off day. We still made the best of it, and had a great time.
So, this is the end of day seven. It was a slow drive day but the group knows how to have a good time and make the best of any day that we spend together. Thanks for reading, -Karizma (a.k.a Chickenwing)
2/25/17 DAY NINE
We drove from Ridgefield, CT to Boston, MA today! We started our time in Boston at the Freedom Trail and participated in a tour led by the infamous Jeremiah Poope. He has a great way of retelling history through anecdotes, hilarious commentary, personal experience, and fun facts. We all loved him, and I think we all agreed that we would steal him and bring him back to Maine with us! Hopefully we’ll get to do another tour with him someday. After the tour, we spent a couple of hours exploring Quincy Market – everyone got to choose where they wanted to go for lunch in small groups, then went to different stores and had a blast.
After Quincy Market, we sang out way to the Church in Newton, MA. This was our final stop of the trip. Cook crew got right to dinner, Skylar called our final chow circle, and we played some games after dinner. After a quick game, Hannah and Emily shared poems that they wrote about each individual when they were sitting on the bus together. Connor shared a photo montage he made of the whole trip – it was SO weird and beautiful at the same time! A lot of close ups of our faces. SURPRISE! Then, we all participated in our journal pass, one of the most meaningful parts of the end of a trip. We all have come such a long way together, and have built long-lasting connections with each other. That means we all had a lot of good stuff to say about each other to hold with us after the trip goes home. At the very end of the night, Hannah passed out stones to each of us as a memory of all the good energy and strong connections made – we can use these stones to channel what our Trekkers group is: a supportive, goofy, connected group that is always there, even off of trips.
2/26/17 DAY TEN
Back to Maine! We road the bus from Boston to Thomaston, singing and dancing our way home. It was bittersweet, leaving the group but reconnecting with our families. Can’t wait for the next experience!