Notes from the Edge: What Hopa Mountain has Meant to Me —Andy Marshall, Youth Program Participantadmin | February 17, 2010
Hopa Mountain has changed my life, and the way I look at it in so many ways. Being part of this program has opened up my way of thinking about the different personalities each of us hold. While they may not be perfect, it is what gives us our shine, our uniqueness. I’ve seen so many people within Hopa Mountain share moments in their lives that meant so much to the people listening. Just listening to the words has helped me understand them a little bit better and strengthened my ability to listen in everyday life.
At this year’s summer camp, we had a tour of uptown Butte, a place that reminded me of how time can pass. The buildings were so old, but
thankfully, taken care of. The places we visited and stayed were beautiful. This year we stayed at Homestake Lodge near Butte. We enjoyed playing games that got us thinking about life. One of the group activities was a scavenger hunt. Learning how to use tools like a compass, and finding points then adapting it to a map was fun and eye opening. This camp is a place that has many warm memories in my heart. Even a small moment can create a big smile within . . .that’s something I believe.
We headed to bed one night and we had an awesome opportunity. Through our windows, our whole room had the chance to see wolves up close. The moment we saw the first, another followed, and another after that. Before we knew it there was a whole pack outside, a sight you very rarely see. Just to see the amazing glint of their eyes was captivating. We were privileged enough to witness this event. It was simply a stroke of luck.
The counselors I worked with were and are very good people. They had the ability to talk with so much power, to communicate with others, sharing words that they believe. The youth I have worked with have expressed out loud the feelings that I have been so proud to be trusted in. That is one of the advantages to this program in my eyes, learning to express yourself in a way that you believe. And knowing that you need to follow others in some situations is a good skill to have also.
The program activities expand our understanding of life and how we take place in life. Talking about things that you can do to help your community and what you want to do with your future… putting your mind in a position to think about your future, something so simple but something so meaningful, if only you think about it.
Over the years, I have worked with Hopa Mountain’s summer camps, and have been amazed at how everyone just seems to get along. How they could take all their differences and put them aside. Hopa Mountain has helped me understanding that people have more to show then just what they present on the outside.
In my opinion, if we can do that everywhere, the world would be a better place. The experience with the Hopa Mountain youth programs has been something to remember for the rest of my life.