“The little square-pulley-one was the worst,” agreed Jack, Derek and I as we marched down the trail, spent and victorious but ready to remove the harnesses and return to our terrestrial lives.

Interspersed with our victory “Whoop-whoops,” satisfied cries of “Nailed it!” and supportive calls of “You were amazing!” were the few shared frustrations, “I thought I had it, but I nearly fell off,” “That one was horrible,” and “I can’t do this.”

The stories we exchanged about particular obstacles while we were in the trees at WildPlay Element Park in Victoria, perched on the modest landings, cemented our support and encouragement of one another. We were proud. We were nervous. We were together in this.

Sometimes we found the same challenge hard, but other times our opinions varied, much like life. But unlike life, you don’t always share with a sympathetic stranger. It was nice. We imparted pro-tips with whoever came after us. Just like life might be if we shared more. Jack gave me some tips that would not have occurred to me. This made the mission in the trees all the more sweet.

When we gathered at WildPlay, I was the Power To Be grant associate, Jack was the youth participant and Derek was the support worker. I was out on program, as the non-program team arms of Power To Be do to remain connected and grounded in the authenticity of the work we are supporting. Plus, it is a lot of fun and always soul-satisfying to be outside on different adventures with participants and other community partners.

As we gathered around the picnic table, I was focused on connecting with the youth, and seeing how I might pitch in. We had a group of six male youth with us. Once we were organized, we set out, alternating participant with volunteers and staff so everyone had support ahead and behind. I was really just focused on supporting and helping. It was in the trees where we all started just being.

The funny thing is, in WildPlay, you are always latched onto a line. You cannot fall. And yet, we all had to grapple with uncertainty and fear. We all were bolstered and reassured by the “nice work,” that came from a member of the group. The equalizing experience is so precisely human and so accessible for everyone, especially in nature.

Certainly, up in the trees, we do require real harnesses and we do need to be literally attached to keep safe. However, I like to think that the work Power To Be does is akin to that connection, that safe no-fall zone where all of us have the opportunity to explore and extend the boundaries of what we believe is possible.

 – Story shared by Gillie Easdon, Power To Be Grant Associate