Just a few hours before this picture was taken, the girl I’m turning to speak to, was clinging to the side of a mountain, hysterically crying and refusing to move a single inch up or down. This is a girl who on the first day of camp told me that she didn’t like the way the grass felt on her legs. That was my first day leading my own clan and already one of my campers was hitting me with more than I could handle.
It is in these moments that the usually hidden magic of Wild Earth is revealed.
Anyway, day two and my co-lead Joey and I are giving her the pep talk of our lives as her frail arms cling to the side of a cliff (it may or may not have been as dramatic as I’m remembering). After what feels like hours we finally get her to move, Joey pushing her from behind and me pulling her from up front, and inch-by-painful-inch we coax her up to the top.
At the top, of course, she surveys the view and informs me that the climb was worth it. I think that my day can’t get any better. Wrong. Because as we’re walking back to end of the day pick-up, I turn around and she is knee deep in the grass, looking at something that a fellow camper is pointing out to her. “I thought you were afraid of grass!” I say. “Not any more”, she replies, “I climbed a mountain today.” And the look of pride and self accomplishment on her face is priceless.
Needless to say, when I saw that Maggie had somehow snapped a photo of that moment, a moment I think I’ll remember for the rest of my life, I was moved and I just wanted to make sure I shared it with you. It is in these moments that the usually hidden magic of Wild Earth is revealed.
Zoya grew up in between city and country, spending her weeks in Manhattan and her summers and weekends exploring Accord, NY. She loves to travel, and has hiked with Rhinos in West Africa, juggled with mimes in Mexico, and played the Ukulele with musicians in Israel. She was a member of Wild Earth’s very first summer camp, and later became an instructor—a role she has cherished for four years. She is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Education at New York University, and hopes to graduate with a better understanding of the connection between nature and learning. More about Zoya's work.