Broken Collarbone

The Camp Caribou Experience

Fear and Reflection in the Woods of Maine


I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.

~Taylor Swift


I was tossing and turning in my bed at 11:00 PM the Sunday night before the class trip to Camp Caribou trying to sleep. Camp Caribou is a summer camp where my school took a class trip. We went on the trip to bond as a grade and set our goals for the upcoming school year. I was excited about new experiences and terrified of the impending ropes course and zipline. I was also hoping to have some meaningful experiences.


    Encouragement is what calms the terrified. I was terrified by myself climbing up a tree to the aqua zipline on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. I started up the shaky ladder which my classmate Liam was holding against the tree for me. I was terrified that my hands or feet would slip off the rungs of the ladder. Once I had come to the top of the ladder I had to climb up a tree using small metal loops. My brain was so foggy from fear that I could hear noises coming from below but didn’t realize it was my classmates cheering me on. Then the Caribou staff standing on the platform with me said “put your toes on the edge.” This was the moment I had to go, I jumped and the fog in my brain lifted and I had a great ride into the water. I felt alone while climbing the tree to the top of the aqua zipline. I was trapped in a negative cycle of thoughts thinking about all the things that could go wrong. My friend supported me the whole time. I learned that with the right environment you can overcome what you are terrified of. My friends created an environment where I overcame what I was terrified of and could face my fears.


    The only way to conquer your fear is to face it head-on. I was standing with my friends at the bottom of a rock wall about to face my fear of climbing. I hate rock climbing because I am deathly afraid of climbing. Yet, I found myself standing with a harness on at the bottom of a 50-foot rock wall. One of the staff at Camp Caribou had talked me into it. My fear of rock climbing doesn’t make sense because I love many extreme sports like cliff jumping and freestyle skiing but for some reason, I do not like climbing. Then the Caribou staff asked if I was ready to climb, and I had to say yes. I started climbing and the physical part was not hard for me, but it was mentally challenging. A few times while I was climbing I wanted to stop, but I pushed myself to keep going, and when I got to the top I was pretty excited. Next, I got lowered down, and once I was unclipped from the climbing rope and looked up at what I had climbed, I was elated. When I decided to face my fear of climbing, I was petrified but I knew there wasn’t much to worry about, which is what drove me to face my fear head-on. I am proud that I dared to face my irrational fear. I would go climbing again now that I have gotten through the hardest part, which is starting. After having an intense experience like facing your fear of climbing, it is good to talk and reflect on what you have learned.



    Reflecting is the best way to learn from your experiences. The entire grade was standing solemnly around a massive campfire reflecting and talking quietly on a Tuesday night. My grade and I were sitting outside the dining hall on the stairs at Camp Caribou. No one was talking While we were waiting for the teachers to dismiss us one by one to go to an event called Campfire where everyone in the grade thanks members of the Fenn community and shares goals they have for the year. I was dismissed second behind my friend Jack. We walked quietly down a gravel road to a fire pit with a crackling fire. Next, we sat on raised benches and watched a performance of guitar and joke-telling. Lastly, we shared our goals and reflected. I got to learn a ton about my classmates from Campfire. I also believe as a grade we became closer and formed great common goals for the year. Reflecting on our years at Fenn helped us create a clear vision of how we want to be remembered. All of my experiences at Camp Caribou made it easier for me to face my fears and realize how important it is to find a quiet moment and reflect.

The fears were faced and the lessons learned.


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There are some very powerful vocabulary in this essay like when you said elaited when talking about climbing the rock wall. There are also many compelling messages inside the essay.


Great job Pete! The essay was very detailed and powerful. I really like the line, “The fog in my brain lifted”. This was a cool and creative metaphor. Great essay!


Great job Pete! You wrote a strong essay and I love that Taylor Swift quote. I liked how you shared you experience with fear and how you overcame it. Overall Great Job.


Awesome Pete! I loved how in the second paragraph your put the reader in your shoes of fearing the rock wall and the courage it took to climb it anyway. The lessons were great and I had fun reading it.

Alexander Murdough

Nice job Pete! You used creative words, dialogue and some metaphors. This added a new sort of element to your essay. Great job!


Great job Pete! You had very strong vocabulary and I loved the quote “ I started climbing and the physical part was not hard for me, but it was mentally challenging.” Well done Pete!


Great job Pete! I enjoyed reading about how you couldn’t sleep the night before the trip, and your fear of the ropes course and zip line. You also did a great job of describing the zip line and how you overcame your fear of it.

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