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Posted: Feb 18, 2009 13:30

LIFE AFTER SOLTREKS

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Dear Lorri and Soltreks staff,

Hi! I miss Soltreks so much. My first day out of it was very uncomfortable. I ate chicken for the first time in weeks and slept in a bed, I enjoyed neither. I did enjoy my time in another state and realized how grateful I was for my family and our beautiful home there. At first it was really hard to open up. I was still adjusting to my once normal life, and with all the memories from Soltreks and the lessons I learned, I felt I was in my own little world sometimes.

I returned home and went to my new school. My first day there was on a three day retreat. I met the girls who accepted me right away. I thought they were very nice, just so immature. The way they acted toward adults and other girls was very rude. I had forgotten that most girls acted that way. One of the girls even offered me a cigarette, which I kindly said no to. The only person I really opened up to about my summer was a guy named ******* who I could trust. He was sweet and liked to listen to what I said. I considered him my closest friend, and in a way his sense of humor and his kindness reminded me of another old friend ***, who I can no longer see.

When I came home from the retreat I was very excited to go back to school. I felt so close to everyone there and I felt accepted by everyone. Less than a week later, ******* and I started to go out. I could so easily trust him and I found it so easy to tell him Soltreks stories. Often I would cry while telling him and he hugged me and told me he loved to hear the stories. Though we have had our fights, we are still going out.

It was also so nice to see a majority of my friends again. I even met up with a very good friend from middle school. She and I had fought a lot last year, however she was impressed by my journey at Soltreks and she and I really opened up and made up for our previous fights. I think we can continue to have the close and trusting relationship I had missed so much.

Things between my mom and me are ok. Much better compared to last year, yet we do have our fights. I lose control multiple times during the fights and I am still looking into why. She and I are planning on having a big talk next weekend. I do think I can open up to her a lot more and we work things out well after fights. Also I have definitely noticed how she has changed. She doesn't pester me nearly half as much as she did about homework and she approaches me about issues very calmly. I'm grateful and I respect her new behaviors. :

My sisters and I are getting along amazingly! I have noticed they come to me about a lot of things and tell me what is going on in their lives. I can also tell them a lot and I share with them things I learned from Soltreks. I consider them friends once again and it is a great feeling.

I thank God everyday for Soltreks. I am so happy I had that amazing opportunity and now it is like I am seeing the world with new eyes. Thanks to Soltreks, I have old friends back in my life, a great boyfriend (who thinks I look best without makeup :), a closer relationship with my family and with God. Thank you so much for changing my life!

Love, *******

p.s. I hope to return to Soltreks in some way



Note: Permission to publish this letter from a graduate of Soltreks (a wilderness program headquartered in Minnesota) came from the student's mother and is on file at Woodbury Reports, Inc. It provides a helpful insight into what a typical graduate goes through after an intensive emotional growth wilderness program. The homes refer to her parents' homes. If you are interested in contacting the mother about her experience, send an e-mail to lhanna@soltreks.com or denise@woodbury.com. Legitimate e-mails will be forwarded to the parent.


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