The day started early with our wake-up call at 6. Boys were on time with their luggage and we had rooms inspected and keys collected and check-out completed by 6:40. We were at the airport right when we planned to be (7 AM) and had a smooth processing of baggage and seat assignments. Boarded the plane on time, and then the slow down began.
Apparently there was an issue with the cargo nets and that caused us to have a 90 minute delay out of Jackson. We made it to Minneapolis-St. Paul late, of course, but they were holding the plane for us. That’s a major advantage of having a group. The Charlotte arrival wasn’t too late, but about 25% of the boys and leaders didn’t have their luggage. It will arrive tomorrow, delivered to our homes. All but a minor inconvenience.
But that’s the boring stuff.
We had an incredible trip. This group of 25 boys have had experiences that will leave them with memories that will last a lifetime. They’ve hiked in some of the most incredible country in the world. We went on a trail ride by horseback, rafted a river, observed natural features that couldn’t help but impress. They went to a rodeo, had tours at museums, visited historic sites, and ate a lot of food. Yes, a lot of junk food…but some healthy stuff too! They went swimming, experienced a chuck wagon dinner along with a cowboy music show, saw wildlife they haven’t seen before such as elk, black bear, moose, antelope, and more.
Some learned how to keep motel rooms neat, others not so much. Most kept up with hotel keys, but a few are still looking.
They did a lot of souvenir shopping. They bought a lot of knives. They made some new friends and learned a little more about some of their older friends. They also learned a bit about taking care of themselves without parents along. For most of the boys, this was their longest time away from home.
Oh, and they learned to live without electronics. It wasn't easy, but the boys found other ways to use all that time: playing cards, reading, talking, looking at scenery, being funny.
And boys learned a lot about themselves. They all gained in self-confidence.
They also practiced common courtesies such as taking their hats off for dinner, saying please and thank you. They earned some treats for compliments from strangers.
And of course, they had a good time. We all had a good time. A trip like this can only be appreciated by those experiencing it, but we hope these Facebook and blog postings have at least given you a taste of what the MTA life is like.
A huge thanks to Howard Yarborough, Andy Lammers, Don Silleman, and Andy Clack for their devoted help in making these trips work. And of course, thanks for your friendship. You guys made it all come together.
Hope we’ll see a bunch of these boys next year!
And now, enjoy the rest of your summers.
Click the link to see photos from the past summer: