North Pole Exped
#15: Potential of a young girl
Published at 18:35
This trip is an affirmation of the potential of not only a 14yo girl, but youth in general. Today was a bitingly cold day, 18c below zero but with a stiff wind and no sun. Our breaks were excruciating with fingers aching as the body prioritised blood to the stomach to process food rather than to our screaming extremities. To make matters worse Jade takes a pee most breaks, a gargantuan task in these conditions. She hauls her sled over challenging rubble, navigates out in front some sessions, averages 12km skiing per day, pitches tent, lights the stove and endures the bad jokes and farts of three scruffy men. She displays mental, emotional and physical capabilities akin to those of an adult. Jade is another chapter in my lifelong quest to foster potential in young people.
But what of intellectual maturity in an early teen? A trek to the North Pole doesn't really test such capacity.
At the start of WWII, in hiding with her family in the 'Secret Annexe', a secluded attic of a Dutch warehouse, 14yo Jewish girl Anne Frank had already begun penning her now-famous diary. I read The Diary of a Young Girl before guiding this trip and was astonished by the intellectual depth at which she viewed and engaged with the people and world around her. For me it was something of an epiphany.
Anne and Jade are two ordinary kids placed in extraordinary circumstances, possessing and displaying maturity on a multitude of levels, yet representative of our youth, our children. We as caring adults and parents don't need to send our kids to the North Pole to foster greatness. We just need to guide them towards experiences that facilitate personal discovery, independence and resilience, and should then not be surprised by their ability to astonish us.
Pics of Jade crossing a crack in the ice and Paul hauling over ice rubble.
- Name: Day 8
- Elevation: 1 m
- Latitude: 89° 36’ 46” North
- Longitude: 152° 1’ 31” East