“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katherine Hepburn
When you spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and seven months of the year with someone in a canoe, it’s a good idea to lay some ground rules. Not too many, just a few to keep the chaos to a minimum. We asked each other what was most important to us personally and then for the expedition and agreed on a few simple things to keep us honest and on track with the big adventure. Having these rules gives us some boundaries to work within as we hurtle ourselves toward the Gulf of Mexico in a canoe of apparent madness.
- Friendship first.
We are committed to supporting each other through the excitement and challenges of the expedition. When all else fails, listening to and respecting one another is what we rely on to keep going. By focusing on our team first, we can work toward our mission of supporting other girls and women.
- “Good morning” and “nighty-noodle”
We say “good morning!” when we wake up and “nighty-noodle” (our version of “good-night”) before we got to bed – but after we brush our teeth!
- Stick to the timeline
Before the expedition, Alyce researched the route and compiled a timeline for the 4,000 mile, seven month long expedition. This gives us and idea of how far we need to travel each day to finish at the end of November. We try to stay ahead of schedule when we can to give us more buffer days later on. This will be helpful if we run into bad weather or other unexpected surprises downriver.
- No important discussions between 2 and 5pm on travel days
Just no. This is the hardest time of day for us to have a productive conversation. We are both usually too tired, hungry, thirsty, and way too hot to be able to manage the emotional complexities of the “afternoon uncomfortables”.
- Reset the Eye of the Tiger
Roughly every week, we have a conversation to sharpen our expedition mentality. We call this the Tiger Eye sessions. We use this time to get on the same page about expedition stuff like travel plans and resupplies as well as set small goals for the next few days. It’s also a time for us to remember to celebrate success and say kind things to each other and to get things off our chest and resolve issues.
For Educators: Ideas for bringing our Social and Emotional learning curriculum into your classroom.
- Expedition Rules can become your Classroom Rules/Guidelines (since teenagers don’t always respond well to the word ‘rules’).
- At the beginning of the year, with your students, have a brainstorming session about the guidelines you will use to create a positive, creative and enriching learning environment.
- From the brainstorming session, create 5 guidelines. Have all students agree to these guidelines (having students sign their name to a document with these guidelines is a good way of having the students how their commitment to the guidelines).
- Having these guidelines on display in the classroom will serve as a visual reminder to the students and a reference point when the guidelines are not being followed.