Gem State Senior Survival A Student's Story

I looked forward to this year's senior survival with my class, but I had no idea what adventures we would undertake.

Together with sponsors and adult staff, we traveled to a wilderness area near McCall, Idaho. We started out doing team-building experiences such as orienteering. But the activity that really helped me bond with my classmates was white-water rafting on the Salmon River.

Ten people each grabbed a paddle, a life jacket and a helmet, then piled onto a raft. But I was scared to death, so I chose Mr. McPherson's boat because of his experience as a white-water raft guide at Camp Ida-Haven.

The first part of the trip was calm and smooth. Mr. McPherson taught us how to paddle forward and backward. As we were approaching the first rapid, a classmate looked over at me and said, "Wow, Rachel, you're really white. Are you okay?" The truth was, I was not! My heart was pounding. My mind was racing, and I was hanging on to my paddle for dear life. The very thought of the swirling, churning water made me almost feel sick. But we navigated the first rapid just fine.

The third rapid was the wildest. We were paddling like crazy when suddenly our boat folded in half shooting some of our team into the water. I fell into the middle of the boat onto the water canister, and Mr. McPherson landed on me.

After we pulled everyone back into the boat, we started sharing our stories. I'm sure we'll still be laughing about this Salmon River adventure when we come back to Gem State Academy for our 50th reunion.

December 01, 2009 / Idaho Conference