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In the summer of 2009 I went on a little camping trip. Essentially, it’s a 21-day backpacking trip in Philmont (world’s largest Scout camp, in New Mexico, a rugged paradise) that emphasizes personal growth of mind, body, and spirit. I was thrown in a crew with seven guys from around the country who I had never met, but by the end they were my brothers. I can’t say much more about the specifics, because rule 1 (and rule 2) is “Don’t talk about Rayado,” because it would ruin the experience to know what’s going to happen, but I can say it’s the most significant experience of my life so far. It taught me things I didn’t know about myself, it taught me about people, it taught me about nature, it got me through a very rough following year, and the lessons still stick around today. I wouldn’t be who I am without Rayado, and I think that’s for the better.
If you are a Boy Scout or Venturer, able to take on 21 days of strenuous backpacking, and able to accept the unexpected, check it out. And if you’re up for the challenge, do it. You won’t regret it.