Taylor Brandon

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    Big City Mountaineers essay
    This summer I was able to learn a lot about myself I was able to learn that there is nothing that I cannot do and I am an invincible human being. I was only able to learn this through the experience known as Big City Mountaineers or BCM for short.

    I remember when my older brother took the trip a few years ago when he was thirteen now nineteen. I did not think anything of it he was just going to be out camping for a week. He came back and had so many stories to tell from his weeklong camping trip so I figured he had a good time. I never thought that I would be going on the same weeklong ordinary camping trip. As the years went by Ms. Regina would come up to me saying you will be going to BCM with me one year and I did not think anything of it. So here I am a youth Leader at the East Oakland Youth Development Center’s Summer Cultural Enrichment Program and I find out that I Taylor Brandon is going on that same ordinary weeklong camping trip. I soon found out that the experience would not be so ordinary. I can remember hearing everyone’s horror stories but I also heard positive stories as well so what I was supposed to believe? I figured I would just judge it for myself.

    It is time to go to BCM I figured that I was the most excited amongst my camping mates who included Ashlee Wood, Jailyn Anderson, Jamila Platt and TeNaja. We arrived at the BCM building and as we pulled up you could see tents pitched in the front, and that is when it hit me I was going to be backpacking for six days with no bathroom, kitchen and my bedroom. There was no turning back now because Ms. Regina would not let me. Our volunteers Mary, Maria, and Lisa were very nice and encouraging and I had confidence that they would not get us lost in forest. They told us that we would be staying at a Yosemite Park Ranger’s house named Allison I appreciated staying at her house so much she was very nice.

    We are finally hiking and it was not as bad as I thought. I did realize that there was no need to be negative in what we were all experiencing because we would have to finish this journey no matter what. One very positive thing was that it was TeNaja’s birthday and she was turning sixteen years old. I was so proud of her because, she could very well be at home celebrating her sweet sixteen but instead she decided to spend it with people that she did not even know that well and I thought that was very brave of her.

    Even though it was hard keeping this positive attitude Ms. Regina told me that I was the ringer and I was the one who was not supposed to break down during the trip. I took that job with so much responsibility because I figure if I was not positive I would bring everyone else down around me. So I tried extremely hard even though I missed my home and everything in it. One of my favorite things was climbing the 10,000 foot summit I climbed 10,200.  It was one of the most thrilling moments of my life thus far. It felt like I was on top of the world and no one could stop me, no one could touch me, I was a beast and I was bad. It was a struggle coming up but man did it feel good to know that I conquered that huge hill. Coming down was more fun that going up for me it brought me at peace, looking down comforted me and that is exactly what they told us not to do.

    BCM is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life, it changed my life. I learned to always have a positive outlook and I was able to become more mature. It is funny how much a person can change over the course of six days. Now I realized that this was not your ordinary camping trip, it was extraordinary even though I did not realize it at the time. BCM is a chance for you to grow as a leader because only leaders were on this trip. We each had our different leadership qualities and I know why Ms. Regina picked us to go. I am so thankful that she was able to see my own potential because without her I may not have seen my own leadership qualities. This summer I was able to learn a lot about myself I was able to learn that there is nothing that I cannot do and I am an invincible human being.

    Taylor Brandon
    8-20-2008

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