When You Look for Others, You Find Yourself Too

Posted by Katelyn BeVard on March 16, 2022

D0147746 9052 4785 97C7 B2A5EBAB916E 1 201 aOne of my favorite memories from my time as a Field Instructor, was during a week I was working with a group of adolescent girls. One of the students I was working with that week (we will call her Julie) came from a sports family. She played sports and her father was a coach for a professional sports team. She was the type of student who would put her head down and work tenaciously towards a goal, while often ignoring any emotions she was feeling. It was clear to the staff team at the time that this young person was spending a lot of energy on tasks and, in the process, ignoring her emotions.

We would later find out that these emotions often surrounded the pressures of being successful that were present in her family. She checked all of the boxes, worked hard, completed her chores on time and generally excelled at flying under the radar. Julie appeared to be the “perfect wilderness client.” From the outside, she appeared to have it all together, but her insides were screaming and she had learned not to let that out.

My co-staff and I came up with a series of made-up strength and agility games that were designed to push us to our physical limit in an effort to ignite emotion from Julie and to give us an opportunity to provide the space for her to lean into that emotion. The winner of these challenges would take home bragging rights and that was it. Having been a student athlete in college, this was the type of intervention I couldn’t wait to participate in!

Katelyn olympics

It has been years since that day in the woods and I honestly cannot remember who won. What I do remember was this student crying for the first time since she had arrived to Evoke weeks prior and for the first time processing the immense amount of pressure she felt from simply existing in her family. The intervention was incredibly powerful for Julie and her ability to connect with her emotions was a breakthrough for her.

What this story highlights for me is that Evoke will meet your child where they are at. And our Field Instructors are invested enough and have the creative minds to create space or interventions to help draw out emotion or feelings from the participant and then sit in that space with them. As I walked through the intervention with the student, I realized I was noticing a lot about myself that was coming up during the activity as well. As a highly competitive tennis player and perfectionistic child, I could relate to the feeling of stuffing my emotions in order to achieve the end goal of success. As I watched Julie process her own thoughts and feelings about what it was like to be in her family, I couldn’t help but cry alongside her because I felt like I was watching a version of my younger self.

Myself, Julie, and my co-staff walked through the activity together that day and while it was built for her, I was reminded of my own journey. When I reflect on this years later, I have seen this same concept unfold in all of the Evoke programs; from Wilderness to Coaching to Intensives to Pursuits. This is, inherently, what all of our programs do. We meet the client where they are at, we walk through the journey with them, and sometimes we end up learning something about ourselves along the way. In this work, our job is to guide the client along their own path of finding themselves and to be a container for them. And sometimes, we end up finding ourselves too.


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