“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
Guest Author: Alum, Alexandra
“Lexi” Prochniak . . .
At the top of a 31-story building the wind whipped through my hair. I heard my name and walked over to the edge. Strapped into a harness, I was ready to take the leap – literally. I peered over the edge, knowing my family was 418 feet below, waiting for me to begin my descent. They were nervous, but at the same time, knew how diligently I worked to raise money for Building Adventure – a worthwhile cause – and earn the opportunity to rappel down one of the tallest buildings in Philadelphia.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I moved a little closer to the edge. A short, thin metal bar was the only barrier that separated me from me from the rooftop and full in-air suspension. I swung my legs over the bar knowing this was my last possible chance to turn back. There was no choice in my mind but to let go. A sense of freedom and empowerment overcame me. I was positioned perpendicular to the building, the ground 418 feet below. Slowly, I let the rope glide through the carabineer.
I turned to take in the breathtaking view of the city – completely in awe. It was at this moment that I discovered the meaning of the phrase “leap of faith.”
By stepping over the bar, I forced myself to lean into discomfort, and have never looked back. If you live in fear of taking chances, you may not experience everything that life has to offer. Risk stimulates growth and without growth, life would be stymied. Prior to the rappel, I never considered myself a risk taker. The “final step” I took over the bar showed me the importance of taking chances and not turning back. I am comfortable with being uncomfortable and I’m not afraid to take a risk. I approach life with confidence, and a new zest to take a leap and see where I land.
Lexi is a soon-to-be graduate of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and will attend Washington and Lee University this fall.
REGISTER FOR BUILDING ADVENTURE 2016!
Take to the skies with us on Thursday, October 20th and Friday, October 21st for the Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s annual high-adrenaline fundraiser – Building Adventure. Scale one of Philadelphia’s most iconic skyscrapers. Rappel 29 stories down Brandywine Realty Trust’s Commerce Square Building in Center City, Philadelphia.
For the past four years, Mayor Nutter and other politicians, Philadelphia business leaders, sports icons, students, teachers and local area youth have participated. Now in its fifth year of thrilling philanthropy, Building Adventure is designed to reflect Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s mission to change lives through challenge and discovery, and replicates our organization’s innovative youth development work. Participants bravely mirror what POBS’ outdoor education programs encourage young people to do every day: challenge themselves, discover untapped potential, and use it to make positive change in the world.
This May, the Russell Byers Charter School– a long-time school partner of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School – outfitted their school grounds for a custom Insight program. The entire sixth-grade graduating class rappelled two stories, as peers and teachers cheered from the playground below.
Insight courses are one or two day challenging adventures, where students engage in problem solving exercises, learning how to challenge themselves and work together. This rappel is designed to help students tackle their fears and build confidence.