Pocahontas State Park 2014: Day 3

“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

– William Clement Stone

I’ve always appreciated Stone’s choice of words here. He could’ve very easily cautioned the reader in regards to, specifically, a dangerous environment and/or negative group of people. Though instead, in what reminds me of what I’ve read about ancient soothsayers in Caesar’s time, he seemed to be whispering an unadulterated message to anyone willing to listen. It’s a simple message and one that clearly begs the question: What, and whom, do we allow into our lives that will change us regardless of our intentions?

I’m here at PSP witnessing some pretty incredible things day-after-day from a group of talented, dynamic, and reflective students. Their willingness to give thanks, share, cross personal boundaries, and practice humility (quite possibly in ways that are unfamiliar and even uncomfortable for some) has been eye opening and refreshing. Part of me… most of me was worried that I would have to play Dr. Phil this week; asking difficult questions, fielding thoughtless answers, and making seemingly impossible connections, though that hasn’t been the case up to this point. Citing scenarios that have been completely unprompted by myself, we’ve had conversations regarding…

…being recognized for hard work

…the importance of humility

…family and origins

…assessing needs and wants

…decision-making processes and regrets

…personal motivations and intentions

…so many more thoughtful topics that I can’t even think of them all!

What I actually seem to have on my hands, besides a small acid burn, some white paint that didn’t come off in the shower, and countless splinters from hanging paneling earlier today is simply a group of kids that, regardless of if they had heard Stone’s whisper, have made two choices: first, to immerse themselves in an environment focused on service and humility and second, to surround themselves with like-minded individuals.

Change is happening down here at latitude, 37.373973, longitude, -77.571782… and it’s not just the change that’s taking place inside the cabin we’re rehabbing.

Every nail we drive and every board we hang comes with a price. It is in those very finite moments that we dare ourselves to change


(Dollian following the line)


(Junghwan showing us how to properly hold power tools)


(Katherine strunking… stretching and dunking… it’s a thing)


(Shantel being Shantel… and scraping like a boss)


(Our resident maniac…who gave Amanda the bottle of acid and grinding wheel?!?!)