Take a Hike helped me find…me.  I was a lost, confused, gangly teenager wandering around from school to school until finally my mom said to me “I heard about this school, just down the road from our house and you get to go camping, and hiking, and skiing. It sounds like a lot of fun!”  Wow did that ever sound like a lot of fun.  So I applied, had an interview.  I will always remember what I wore to that interview too. Purple high heels and a ton of makeup… WHAT WAS I THINKING!!
The first few days were great – the teachers seemed nice, I was making new friends, and we were planning our first 10 day adventure.  This is what I was imagining in my head: “campfires, guitars, s’mores, and singing.” REALITY CHECK!!! No campfires, no guitars, no s’mores, and none of us sang Kumbaya.
It was the hardest 10 days of my life, Klaus [the therapist] still refers to it as the “trail of tears.”  And the worst part of it all, when you think you seriously cannot hike anymore and you have given up, you have a choice: you can give up and walk 5 days backwards, or you can choose to continue and walk 5 days forward……
Getting through those 2 years that I was at TAH was the most challenging thing I had ever had to do in my whole life.
My message is simple: this school changed my life.  It pushed me to my limits, and then further, and then…a little further.  It taught me that no matter what challenges life throws at me, I can deal with them, one step at a time.
I am not afraid of challenge anymore; I welcome it.  That in turn helped me get the awesome job that I have today, it helped me take on university, it helped me choose to travel, and to move across the world.  Without TAH I would probably still be living with my mom, working for minimum wage.
Take a Hike helped me find myself.  I am currently living in New Zealand, studying Psychology and Sport Science at Massey University, and just got a Scholarship through TAH and the SpencerCreo Foundation to help pay my fees.  I work at a Marine Education Centre here, and I take students away for 17 days. (I thought 10 days was long!)
If it was for TAH I would not be here. TAH is a family that will be with us for the rest of our lives.  I cannot thank them enough for their ongoing support and patience.

Courtesy of: Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation 

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