At Calleva, a place where nature intertwines with adventure, fear is not an obstacle but a catalyst for growth. Join me on a reflective journey as I unravel the lessons Calleva has taught me about fear—how it’s not merely about chasing butterflies, but embracing the metamorphosis they symbolize in conquering our fears.
Redefining What Makes a Risk Taker
As a kid, none of my care-takers would have described me as a big risk taker. So if a friend was climbing a tree, I would be the one on the ground, nervously giving them a boost. I rarely raised my hand in class — even when I was sure of my answer — just in case I was wrong.
It was probably a little surprising to some that I got into whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, and other outdoor adventure sports— the ones that some people mistakenly consider “risky” activities done only by adrenaline-junkies.
I experience fear regularly while on rivers, cliffs and trails. But Calleva has taught me to embrace and work through my feelings of fear and discomfort. Fear can protect you from unnecessary risks, but it can also inhibit you from living life to its fullest potential.
When I’m overtaken with the butterflies, I take a couple breaths and check in with myself: What is the source and credibility of my fear? Am I fearful of the unknown, or of a specific outcome? How likely is that outcome, really? Am I misinterpreting the pounding in my chest as fear, when really it’s excitement? Is my fear helping me be more alert and responsive? Or is it crippling my ability to take in new information?
Calleva has taught me that sometimes the bravest choice is to listen to your fear — portage a rapid, avoid a particularly large jump on your bike, take a step down. These decisions have always been honored by my Calleva counselors and coworkers.
I am proud of my ability to judge risk. I’m confident of the personal decisions I make when assessing risk. And thanks to Calleva, I find myself chasing the butterflies.
I put myself in situations in which my fear allows me to thrive. Situations that stretch me, that raise my awareness and leave me chalked full of confidence, adrenaline and pure elation. I often find myself taking the plunge and paddling the technical rapid, trying the technical jump, climbing that exposed route. And to me, the biggest risk of all is to miss out on these experiences that make me feel the most alive.
As I look back on my journey at Calleva, I realize it’s not just about conquering fears. Instead it’s about redefining what it means to be a risk-taker. I used to avoid the unknown, hesitant to step into discomfort. But through the challenges and guidance at Calleva, I’ve learned that fear isn’t a roadblock; it’s a signpost pointing toward growth.
It’s about making informed choices, understanding the source of fear, and honoring its role in keeping us alert. The butterflies that once fluttered in my stomach aren’t just signals of fear; they’ve become invitations to embrace life’s thrilling moments. Thanks to Calleva, I’ve found the courage to chase these butterflies. To step into the unknown, and discover the vibrant, exhilarating experiences that truly make me feel alive.
Sarah joined the Calleva team around 2011, but has been around Calleva since she was 10 years old being a tag-along younger sister to camp. “I remember getting picked up for my first ever day of camp by Matt Markoff in a van called “The Beast.” We would sing, play games, and laugh as we travelled from adventure to adventure…. and I remember thinking at that moment that Calleva was the funnest place in the world!”
Sarah loves the Calleva community, the can-do spirit of the whole gang, and how no day is ever boring at Calleva. Her favorite Calleva activities are kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, adventure racing, and generally any activity that involves being active outdoors. Sarah loves how her role allows her to work with schools and scheme new ways to get kids learning outdoors. As a former math teacher, she knows how important it is for students to get out of the classroom and loves being able to help facilitate that!