My goal with the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign is to
step outside my comfort zone: run harder, try new things, say yes when I want to say no.
Last week, I stepped outside my comfort zone. Arlington County has a really neat opportunity for students called the “Outdoor Lab”. It’s a property about an hour away that’s nestled in the hills and offers our city kids the chance to play in a creek, see animals both in cages and in the wild, boat, fish, and generally spend time in the woods in a way that they can’t near our schools. There are a few opportunities to visit the lab, but in 5th grade, many Arlington classes spend the night. Last week was Jones’ turn. I volunteered to be one of the parents to go.
As you might imagine, I really wanted to say no. We were going to sleep in tents. There would be lots of bugs, including ticks. I wouldn’t get to shower. I’d have to spend approximately 36 hours with 26 5th graders.
But Jones wanted me there, so I decided to embrace my discomfort.
Over the course of 36 hours, I did the following:
- put a worm on a hook so that Jones could fish (multiple times actually)
- hiked in the dark
- encountered both deer ticks and Lone Star ticks
- rowed a boat with 4 boys who had no concept how to actually row a boat
- put up a tent
- slept (sort of) in said tent
- took down my tent and assisted several boys with theirs
- picked up a cicada to remove it from a tent
For a non-nature girl, I think I did a pretty good job of embracing the event! I didn’t even shriek when the Outdoor Lab guy found a snake right in front of me. I’ll admit, though, that I did not touch the fish that one of the kids caught. I let someone else release it back into the pond. I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere, right?
(If you are an Arlington parent who got here by searching for Outdoor Lab, here are some tips for you: 1) bring a soft pad to sleep on, the ones they use are barely more than a yoga mat; 2) bring slip on shoes – the bathrooms are a good walk from the tent; 3) one of the activities is finding living beings in the creek, make sure your child is wearing the shoes you want them to get wet; and 4) pack light – it’s a long walk from the parking area to the tent area.)
Disclaimer: I’m part of the Under Armour campaign through Fitfluential.