“The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters,” Conrad Anker. There is nothing more inspirational than our majestic mountains to start the school year on the right foot. Amidst all the uncertainty that persists, the fact that we could have a safe and meaningful retreat together as a community is not lost on me, and I am very grateful. One of my favorite parts of the retreat is to have a town meeting with the whole student body against the beautiful backdrop of the mountains. The theme for this year’s town meeting was “First Steps.”
You will often find me encouraging our SMirls to dream big, as I believe there is nothing beyond their reach if they set their mind to it. No mountain too high for them to climb. This year I talked about how the hardest and most crucial step to scaling any mountain is the first step. I believe the journey to dreaming big starts with taking the first step, past uncertainty, through self-doubt, and all the way to empowered courage. I shared with them the words of writer Nikki Banas. She says that "the first step of your journey might be scary, but it is also full of possibility and wonder. It is full of excitement at all that could happen. It might be hard to take that first step, but don’t let that fear keep you from starting. Don’t let that fear keep you from feeling all the excitement and wonder at everything in front of you because once you take the first step, there is no looking back.” Take the first step, and you will be amazed at what will follow.
I encouraged the students to reflect on their big dreams that they have been postponing in fear of taking that first step. I invited them to share their first step with all of us. I was overwhelmed with emotion when so many of our students mustered the courage to stand up, share their vulnerability, and their first step. I am so proud of our students, and I know that their individual journeys will be rich and full of possibilities and wonder. I will leave you with the words of a ninth-grader who nervously took the microphone from me and said to the crowd, “ I want to overcome my fear of public speaking, and this is my first step.”