A Place of Growth

In Thank You, Youth by Ashton Smith

This summer I had my first job at Courageous Sailing.

Only one year before was I walking around as a camper, sitting on the 420 dock, and learning how to do my first roll tack. This summer I was starting out as an IIT. I made my way through the first orientation, learning the “behind the scenes” of a camp I had known for so long, and finally receiving my long awaited blue staff shirt. Weeks later, I noticed that I had grown over my time there. I learned confidence, control and leadership, traits I thought I already had. One day, I was working with the Swim Sail Science program at Courageous. It was going to be the students’ first time sailing all day. As the day progressed, I learned a great deal about the one 9-year-old and two 10-year-olds in my boat, who all began to open up to me. It was interesting to me how much they trusted me after only an hour and a half in a boat. When we got to Fan Pier, the destination of the day, we docked and entered the park where Shake Shack had so kindly offered us lunch. When I got there, I saw some of my other IITs and began conversing with them after putting my kids in the line to get some food. I saw a small, curly headed boy who was sitting down by a tree who looked down. Slowly approaching, I asked him what was wrong. He told me that one kid was making him feel dumb because he always knew everything in the classroom. After hearing this, I assured the young boy that he could be just as smart as anyone, and never to feel down because of others. I brought him into the line with the other kids are he began to talk and play again. This made me think about how much just a couple words mean to a child, and how much pressure they have on themselves. It made me know how much I could affect how a child’s day went by just letting them know they have just as much potential as the kid next to them. -Alana

About the Author

Ashton Smith