The Spirit of Ahmek
The Spirit of Ahmek
Last month I had the aspirations to get my name up in the dining hall by boiling water in less than five minutes at council ring. I tried my best to practice as often as possible, but found it difficult to find the time and didn’t get nearly as much practice as I had hoped. It was Friday and with council ring being on Monday, I decided I would use my time that weekend to practice as much as possible. However, I was unable to because I was sent out on a canoe trip for the weekend and was not arriving back until Monday. Upon my return to camp, I decided I would attempt water boiling regardless.
On my way to council ring, my heart was pounding and my stomach was in a knot, I felt really unprepared compared to the rest of the competitors. It was during the competition that I found the true meaning of “the spirit of Ahmek”. For years I always thought it was about being the best at what we do and embracing the maker of men attitude. Not to say that isn’t part of the spirit, but it is not the focus. As I was up there, my nerves increased the more my time ticked away. By the five minute mark I knew my goal was over but figured I would keep trying. By this time 3 guys out of 5 had managed to boil their water.
Soon the crowd’s attention was focused on David Marx and myself. Everyone was chanting our names in turn, which gave me a boost to keep going. Around the 7 minute mark, Marx managed to boil over and I was the only one left. By this time I was defeated on the inside, I was going to call it and take my loss. However by this time everyone’s attention was focused on me. People were chanting my name and a crowd had gathered around to coach me. I knew I couldn’t let them down and give up. This is when I realized what the spirit of Ahmek really is. The spirit of Ahmek is the camp’s ability to rally behind someone, encourage them to do their best and try something new. In my twelve years here at Ahmek, I cannot recall one time when I was told I wouldn’t be able to accomplish something. From canoe trip, to learning how to solo, there is always a group that will encourage you to give it your all.
So to conclude, go out and try something new or ask for help if you want to learn a new skill. There are more than enough competent staff and campers that will show you how to do what it is that you want to do, and to encourage you to do your best.
Harrison Heft – Ahmek – The Taylor Statten Camps – summer 2014