By April Eyler, Program Coordinator, Camp Matollionequay

Each summer, each session, and each day at Camp Matollionequay, we live by the motto “Empowered to be me.” This guides our thoughts, our actions, and our program that we participate in. Through the Empowerment Emblem Program, each camper empowers themselves to learn a new skill each time they attend camp. I am proud of the Empowerment Emblem Program and I truly believe that through empowering one girl at a time to seek adventure, take risks, and develop leadership, we will empower the world. While all of the emblems within the Empowerment Emblem Program help reach that objective, I want to share a story of how I witnessed risk-taking in a camper this summer…

The Knot Tying Emblem was designed to empower girls to learn an outdoor skill and have fun while doing so. They learn all sorts of knots, including a slipknot, a butterfly hitch, a figure eight follow through, and the knot that we use every day at our Challenge Course, a super eight. The campers learn about the purpose of each knot and what makes that knot the best knot to use in each situation. On the third and fourth day of this Emblem Program, the campers get to put their new skill into action and set-up and take down the climbing wall. Then, they get to climb using the super eight knot they learned that week.

As they climb, it often seems a “scary” task and sometimes, a camper will want to quit when they hit a tough spot on the wall. This camper in particular was ready to give up. She was reminded that the emotion of fear is oftentimes confused with the emotion of exhilaration, and that she could trust both the equipment she had learned about and the belay team there to support her. Risk-taking isn’t always an easy thing to do, and so the decision was left to her. She was empowered to make her own decision. And she did. She made it to the top of the rock wall and shouted out a loud “YES!”.

When we remember the courage that we have, the decision-making we are empowered to as individuals, and the bravery we can feel, the risk-taking is easy