“Hold your daughter’s hand”, our Compass Bearer says. I do this countless times a day without thinking about it. But this time, it’s different. My 6-year-old daughter and I are at Fall Camp with our Corona-Norco YMCA Adventure Guides Expedition. After an incredible day together playing games, getting to know other moms & daughters in the Expedition, exchanging potlatches, making tokens and having dinner with our circle, we are sitting around the campfire listening to moms & daughters who have been in the program since the girls were in Kindergarten and who are now “Blazing Out”, or graduating from high school and out of the program. They are talking about how much this program has meant to them, the strength of their relationship and the idea that Adventure Guides is like a family to them.
A mom says how fast the time goes; a daughter says her mom is her best friend. Their love is so real, their bond so evident. They are talking about their favorite memories and nearly all of them say it’s “the drive up to camp.” So simple…it wasn’t hanging out with their friends (though that was a close second), it wasn’t the cool stuff they got to do…just mom & daughter in a car together…talking. That is what I realize my daughter needs…time that is just for her and I, time where she has my full, undivided attention. That is why we joined Adventure Guides. We are making great memories with this program and they are priceless. Together we go to camp, together we work on her walking stick (a program designed to teach our daughters about family, community, nature, and fun), together we go crazy, act silly, be ourselves. “Hold your daughter’s hand,” I hear again, “and know that in the blink of an eye, it will be just as big as yours, and that not long after, you will need to let it go. I’m holding my daughter’s hand and I will not let go until she’s ready…and I hope that when it’s our turn to “Blaze Out,” my daughter says that I am her best friend.