Updated: Aug 11
All of the adventurers on summer 2022’s GodTreks trip spoke of one recurring theme: their growth. Both students and supervisors grew on the eight-day expedition. Their time together was, in the words of GodTreks founder Michael Himick, “life intensified.”
A prominent fear among many high school students is the fear of rejection. Becoming vulnerable and being shut down by people you are just beginning to trust is a terrifying prospect. This fear can stop students from going outside of their comfort zone and keep them from going on the trek. Even once on the trek, fear of rejection can prevent students from truly discovering the joy of life on an adventure together. Yet Mr. Himick works to ease these worries. He said, “Few people can keep up their protective walls and social disguises for eight straight days. If everybody just drops the mask from the beginning, they find how freeing it is. They find that the other people, because they’re dropping their masks as well, accept them way more than they thought they would.”
During their interview, the Himicks spoke to the clear growth that goes on throughout the hikes, the drives, and the time living together at the cabin. Across the board, students and supervisors talked of the intimate community they formed from the experience, becoming closer to each other and to God. Mr. Himick gave some insight on why this is, saying, “When you put nine people together in one cabin, and give them a shared mission, to explore the land and to explore God together, and they’re staying together and making their meals together, they grow. They grow, and something special happens in the formation of that community around a shared goal.”
The Himicks have been leading GodTreks trips since 2016, heading west to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Montana and east to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Although GodTreks groups have been traveling for almost eight years, the 2021–2022 school year was the first time the club traveled with Judah students. In summer 2023, the club will trek with Judah students to Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, the Black Hills, and the Beartooth Mountains.
One of the final things Mr. Himick said was how explorers’ lives can be changed through the experience. He said, “Let’s just say lives can be changed, and seeds are planted regardless. It affects everybody in one way or another, but it’s up to them to decide how they want to respond.”
— Hannah Jackson, class of '24