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Established 2004

June 7, 2010

By Mary Beth Osoro

The road was windy. I knew where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. I was afraid I would get lost, or miss my turn, or just get there so late, no one would be left to greet me. The scenery was beautiful, but I was so concentrated on the road, it was hard to look up and appreciate what was around.

The road was windy. She knew where she wanted to be, but wasn’t sure how to get there. She was afraid of getting lost or missing something. She didn’t always see the beauty around, as she was often focusing on something else.

The first paragraph is about me. I was on my way to Carlbrook School to tour the grounds and say hello to a past student that was getting ready to graduate. I had flown from Hawaii to the East Coast and was turned around either due to the extreme jet lag I was experiencing after a red-eye or the confusing back country roads.

The second paragraph is about Allie. She was graduating from Carlbrook, and windy road was a great metaphor for a young woman who started the journey confused and insecure. She didn’t always see the beauty in herself, but if she only looked up, slowed down and focused, she would be sure to see what everyone else saw in her.

Luckily, we both got to our destination.

The next morning I found myself on the same road, only more familiar with the terrain and confident as to where I was headed. Though I was well rested, it was only because I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear my alarm and got to sleep in. Arriving late to the graduation, I felt guilty and embarrassed, and slipped into the crowd. thankful the sun was not yet blazing down. I looked around at the intimate group and was impressed by the love and care I could feel from everyone—the parents, the teachers, the headmaster, the other students, the advisers/therapists.

Though love was present, it was the feeling of gratitude was overpowering. Each and every one of the 23 graduates expressed thanks to their parents for giving them the opportunity to come to Carlbrook. All 23 of them! How I wished I could have told Allie that she would be thanking her parents for this. Had I told her that during her first weeks in wilderness (or her last, for that matter) she would have thought I was crazy.

I had gratitude as well. Gratitude that Allie had invited me to her graduation. Gratitude that I got to witness amazing young men and women start a new chapter in their life. Gratitude that I got to see Allie come full circle.

The Long and Winding Road - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

You see, I get the pleasure of working with students when they first start this windy road of a process. I rarely get to see the end of the process. Rather, I stand with the student and the parents at the start of the daunting journey—a road so long there is no end in sight, so many highs and lows it disappears from view, so curvy one is guaranteed to get sick along the way. I only wish I could wrap up what I saw at Carlbrook, the gratitude, the pride in both parents and in the students themselves, and the love, and show parents the end of the road.

This was written with consent from Allie herself who is excited to head to college and start shopping to decorate her dorm.