In my opinion, the only reason people tolerate Oregon is because of the summers. The other seasons are good, don’t get me wrong. Winter’s grey has a charm that’s hard to deny and always makes me nostalgic when it rolls around. Fall is undeniably sensory: sharp smells, good foods, gorgeous views. Spring is comical with its manic changes of weather, but also incredibly humbling as you see the whole world bursting back to life. But for me, the culmination is Summer.
I’ve lived here long enough now that I feel like I can track the arch of Summer. You know what I mean, the “where the heck is summer” question through most of June, knowing that 4th of July will always be hot, those couple 100 degree weeks at the end of July/beginning of August, and then sliding down into September and catching those breaths of cooler air that lets you know your summer is drawing to a close.
One of the best things you can do here in the Summer is go explore the state. You can visit the mountains, ocean, rivers, lakes, or trails, all the while Oregon does her best to show off her good side. The reward is undeniable. However, sometimes visiting these places requires a unique effort and determination that most of us normally don’t use in our every day lives. It forces us to shelve our culture of instant gratification and instead choose to be physically active, to only eat what we can carry, to set a goal and achieve it, to not have excuses, to be at peace with our place in the world. That might be a bit dramatic, but there is an undeniable benefit from being out of doors and engaging in physical activity. The outcomes have been well documented by social scientists and has resulted in lots of outdoor programs for adults and youth that have been life changing.
For the past couple summers Hosea has taken a group of youth from the drop in center to take advantage of the beauty and benefits of Oregon’s out of doors. The youth, along with several staff members, went rafting, hiking, rock climbing, and camping. The time was sweet and allowed many of the youth to experience things they had never before. This summer, Hosea will invite youth living in the House to participate in the same program. Hosea staff are working hard right now to make this summer the most successful yet. Through carefully planned trips, the youth will get to experience what it’s like to raft down the Kalamath, be able to rock climb on the famous Smith Rock, and build enough confidence and skills to be able to backpack.
While these skills are beneficial all on their own, the most precious outcome for us is the transformation in the way youth see themselves. Many at risk and homeless youth struggle with feeling inadequate and incapable of overcoming obstacles. Often, this is due to the lack of opportunity to successfully overcome adversity in a healthy and constructive manner. The youth who participate in our summer program will be given the unique opportunity to conquer their fears and feelings of inadequacy with a daring and adventurous set of challenges. This program will push the youth to the edge of their capacity and test the way they see themselves and their capability to navigate the world around them. We are so excited to get started.