Archive for Experiences

Running Strong, Having Fun







As some of you who read my bio know, I run Cross Country. Cross Country is a running sport. Even if you have never run before, Cross Country is a sport that will make you think, help you trough pain, and get you in shape in no time. When I first started in sixth grade, I immediately wanted to quit because of how hard the practices were, and because of not getting free time when I got home each evening, but did I quit? NOPE! I still kept at it, and I’m glad I did.

I transferred from my old school to Montezuma Cortez High-School. There, I was in my freshman year, and was the only new kid. It was a struggle for me because the practices were harder than when I was in middle-school. Now, I’m in my sophomore year, and I’m still going. The sport has helped me through the pain that I felt in my legs, and calfs, and has also helped me boost my mental confidence just a bit. I’m still struggling with the mental part, as well as the physical part, but I hope to get stronger in my junior and senior years.

Today, at 6:00 a.m, I got up and went to school to catch the bus to a cross country meet in Mancos to run at Chicken Creek. The varsity girls ran at 11:15, so we had a lot of time to kill. Although we were having fun, our coach wanted us to keep our goals in the back of our minds so that we didn’t forget them, or if we hadn’t made any goals yet, to be thinking about what goals we had.

Soon, the time came for the varsity girls to run. It had rained very heavily when we were leaving for the meet, so the course was very muddy, and puddles littered around the course.

When the course gets muddy, our coaches don’t care about our times, just being safe, and our placements. Today, the coaches didn’t care about the times, just the placing, and being safe.

We were all waiting at the starting line. I tried to keep my breathing steady, and calm. The gun went off and that’s when all hell broke loose. The starting line wasn’t very big for about forty girls, but we all managed to squeeze in. By the time we got to the first half of the race, I had ended up at the end of the pack. This usually always happens to me, but I continued to push forward. I glanced at the girl behind me, and wished her good luck, and she did the same. I responded with a simple, ‘Thank you’, then continued up the hill. I tried to keep my shoulders down, and my arms to my side, but my mind seemed to be wandering a lot more than it usually does, and my mind went to the pain.

“Hey, take a break. This is your only chance to walk before coach, mom, dad, and Evan all see you.” My brain said to me. I shook my head to clear my thoughts, but that one thought kept coming back. I soon broke, and I had to walk. I walked up the hill, then when it got to a flat section, I started running again. I was angry at myself that I had walked when I knew that I had to keep running. The girl who was behind me, was now a long way a head of me, so I picked up my pace, ran through some mud and puddles, and kept going.

I had only had a half mile to go, so I kept at it. I imagined that my dog was running next to me, then I imagined my coach running next to me, then I started talking out loud to myself, imagining that he was talking.

“Don’t allow those demons to get into you head, Maya. Show them that you CAN run this, and you WILL run this. You’re almost there,” I could hear the shouts, cheering, and whistling of the finish line, telling other runners to sprint. “You hear that? They’re all cheering for you. Now lets go and show those demons that we CAN!” I whispered over my breath to myself, and I was soon sprinting at the every end, giving it all I had.

When everyone on my team finished, I was very disappointed in myself. Everyone on the team who had finished were gathering up to take pictures, so I joined them. Taking a picture or two made me forget about my disappointment. Instead of thinking about how I failed my team, family, and coaches, I thought about how much fun I have after every race, every practice, and I thought about how I am so happy to know that I haven’t quit yet. Every time someone says that cross country is track, I get mad, because I just don’t like track at all, and that reminds me that I like the sport, and have respect for it.

Eclipse Experience

man watching eclipse

My family and I had driven ten hours to get to our scheduled spot for watching the eclipse. It took about an hour to get to partial, then another hour for totality. The moon was a black circle in the sky covering the sun, and the corona, the light around the moon. You would expect that it would be orange, but it wasn’t. It was crystal white.

Around the campground where we were watching the it happen, along with other people from Wyoming or around the world. On the horizon, all the way around, it seemed like a sun set. It was a brilliant light orange and red. The sky was jet black, like it would be at night, or close to night. Next to the moon and sun, you could see the planet Venus. It seemed like it lasted a lifetime, but in reality, it lasted only 2 minutes.

The mosquitoes, frogs, and crickets came out. The fire ants, which had been out while the moon was making its way across the sun, had disappeared into their hills, thinking it was night. Someone told my family and I that the ducks had gone to sleep, like the ants, thinking it was night time. When the moon went away, everything seemed to return to normal. The mosquitoes and other creatures that normally came out at night, left. The ants came out again, they didn’t seem the least bit confused about what was happening, but then again, we were all focused on cheering, whistling, and laughing, happy that we and others had gotten to witness a full eclipse.

After the eclipse had ended, my dad and I went to go and meet a man who was from Japan. He wore a shirt that said ‘I heart Eclipse’. I thought that was amazing, and cute. It was his fourth eclipse that he had seen, and he was traveling around the world tracking eclipses.

Although this may seem like it might not have anything to do with my COYLI experiences, it does. I have gotten to have two great experiences, seeing the eclipse, and meeting the man from Japan. I will have more amazing experiences in my life time, but for now, I am focusing on two more experiences that will hopefully change my life, as well as bring me closer to God. Going to Haiti, and going to Spain.

What is the Purpose of COYLI, and what are the obstacles?

The purpose of COYLI is to teach kids and young adults the meaning of leadership, as well as how to work as a team. The program is also about getting young adults closer to God, and overcoming your fears.

When we were at Cathedral Ridge, we had to do a high ropes course, also know as ‘The Tower’, as the people who worked there called it. I won’t put their names in unless I have their permission. We had yellow cords, that were attached to ‘Lobster Claws’, and they attached to the metal line that stretched all the way around The Tower. The first obstacle was three to four long, metal poles that were attached to two pieces of the metal line. One above, and one on the bottom. To get across, you had to move the, ‘Lobster Claws’, and grab onto the poles. My legs were shaking, and with the shaking, came the unsteadiness of the obstacle. The poles kept leaning from side to side, and I was scared that I would fall off. Everyone on the  ground kept telling me that the Lobster Claws would hold me, but that didn’t help my fear. I was about like, 50 ft off of the ground, maybe 100, for Pete’s sake! When I had gotten all the way across, I wanted to cry. I had almost cried when I was crossing the second obstacle which were three to four logs attached by the metal string, and only two had the metal string going through it, as things to hold onto. When I got to the platform where I would zip-line off, I wanted to cry. I was so happy to be okay, and to know that I could trust the people who built this structure.

Later on through the week, we had to do the leap of faith. The leap of faith was a telephone pole that was cut in the middle, giving a platform just big enough for your feet to stand on. Just about 3 or 4 feet away, was a large trapeze that you had to jump off of the telephone and catch. There were large staples that were put into the telephone pole, and a latter that that was attached by combat rope, tied by a firefighter. We had to put a harness on that wen across our chest, and a rope was attached to it. The rope was strong enough to hold at least 800 lb. Spotters were on the other side, waiting for you to jump. If you decided to jump, someone would lock the string, so you didn’t go straight down, and then they would unlock it, and gradually let you down slowly.

When I went up, I was already on the verge of crying, because I was scared. When I climbed up the latter, it moved, and I held on for dear life, but I kept on climbing. When I got to the top, tears were already falling, and, I let them fall. I wanted to get down, and so I called out,

“I think I want to get down.” I let go of the telephone pole, and when I got to to the ground, I cried my eyes out. I was very disappointed in myself for not jumping, but at least I had made it to the top. Still, to this day, I imagine myself jumping and trying to reach for the trapeze.

Sharing my Experiences

Cathedral RidgeAs I said in the ‘short’ bio, my name is Maya LaMunyon, and I am 16 years old. I wanted to share in more detail what my experience was at Cathedral Ridge. When I first got to Cathedral Ridge, my mom, and my best friend, also a participant, stayed up at the lodges that the counselors for the camp stayed at. My first thoughts were, oh this is going to be a benefit for me, I am going to be able to go to Haiti and Spain, haha, take that Evan! But, as the weeks progressed, I soon realized that this was not all just about me, it was about everyone. When the week came to an end, everyone was crying because they didn’t want to leave. I was crying as well. Being in this program, I feel like I have gotten stronger both physically, emotionally, and mentally. We had to overcome our different fears. Some were the same, others were different. And when someone was down, or sad, everyone in the group helped them to get through it, they never left anyone alone, or struggling by themselves. With the second year on the rise, I hope to spread my experiences with the world, and I hope to bring the leadership that I learned to Haiti, and to the Camino de Santiago trail. We will add a link to Facebook so that everyone will know when we post something new, and we will add a link to a website where you can give donations for our cause if you wish to.