It’s 6:00 a.m., 34 degrees outside, and you’re about to immerse into the freezing Walton Lake. As you take the first step into 48-degree water, you have three options: complain about how cold it is, don’t say anything at all, or view this tradition as an opportunity and honor. At Central Oregon’s District Leadership Camp every year they understand the value of tradition and creating a positive environment during the yearly polar plunge. It would be easy to go in and out of the water, and just talk about how cold it was the rest of the day, but instead through poems, signing “the scroll”, and encouragement, the conversations afterwards are positive.

We just wrapped up all 11 District Leadership Camps and each camp has chosen to create a positive environment, even when it’s not easy. For example, it has been cold during many camps, there have been last-minute cabin assignment problems and unexpected/unwanted rain but that hasn’t ruined the experience. Throughout the past month at camps, others have shown me that we have the choice to make any situation enjoyable.

After discovering this lesson at camps, Alicia and I decided to create our own positive experience. We had just finished a day of facilitation in the classroom and knew that we needed to reorganize the pickup. We decided that we would work hard and make a steak, potato, and salad dinner afterwards as a reward. After taking everything out of the pickup, organizing, cleaning, and packing everything back in for two hours while listening to some upbeat music we ate a delicious meal (with the help of Ryan’s cooking skills). We chose to make an activity that could have been tedious and boring, fun and memorable.

Let’s not forget that each and every moment we have the opportunity to create a memorable experience if we choose. What moment in our lives can we choose to make into a “steak dinner” experience?

Cheering you on,

Jael I. Cruikshank

2023-24 ORFFA State President