Written by Participant: Courtney Bierschbach
Imagine finding a random puzzle piece somewhere... You don't know where it belongs, where it came from or even what part of a picture it makes. By itself the puzzle piece may feel insignificant, tired of trying to be the whole picture...and frankly, feeling a little alone. Natural Leaders Legacy Camp plucked up those 52 lost puzzle pieces that were scattered across the U.S., Canada, and even Peru and brought them together. As one of those puzzle pieces, I can honestly tell you it felt like coming home. I've been fighting the good fight to get kids outdoors for a few years now in various parts of Michigan and have been surrounded by great mentors with YEARS of experience that I am forever grateful for, but I have never encounter individuals of my own age, as passionate as I am...Until I arrived at Islandwood. These pieces came from cities, mountains, prairies, deserts, non-profits, numerous government entities, students, graduates, and although each piece brought their own unique story and experience, we all fit together to make an incredibly strong and beautiful picture. A picture of a better and brighter future. Inspired and rejuvenated by each other, the trainers, the sponsors, and the resources available to us...we are set for success. We have connected to others in bonds that cannot be broken by distance or time. I have gained a whole family of individuals that share the goals of reconnecting children with nature in its simplest form. Individuals, who like me, are just starting down this road and face the same barriers...stereotypes, hardships, setbacks, that can now call on one another for help, for inspiration, for advice, for words of encouragement and gratitude. We arrived as individuals with a goal and left as a family with an entire network of support that WILL change the world. The food was amazing; the trainers were out of this world, the location was beyond beautiful, the attendees were among the highest caliber individuals I have met, dancing like a fork in a garbage disposal-an unforgettable moment, skyping with Richard Louv - bragging rights for an eternity. 52 attendees, 8 trainers, 5 days, 4 nights, 3 amazing meals a day, 1 life changing, jaw dropping, mind blowing experience that has changed me from thinking I WANT to change the world to knowing WE WILL change the world.