By: Garrett McMillian


I was at Springhill Camp with my church. It seemed like a normal day at camp but it wasn’t. It would turn out to be the scariest experience in my life. I was in the fourth grade. I had done a lot of fun stuff that week at camp like ziplining, archery, and rock wall climbing. Something in my gut told me that today wasn't going to be a good day. We were about to leave the cabin, but first my counselor told us what we were doing for the day. The first thing he said was the solo challenge. “Roar,” went my stomach as I cowered in fear.

The solo challenge is were you put on a harness and climb up a telephone pole with pegs sticking out. Then, once you're on the top, you jump off and try to catch a rope suspended in the air. I have always been frightened of heights, so this was way out of my league. As we walked toward the solo challenge, my stomach began to churn faster and faster. We got to the solo challenge I looked to the sky to see the 25 foot pole and the suspended rope. I started to panic I felt like I was about to have a stroke.

Our group gathered around our counselor as we shivered in fear. John, my counselor, asked who’s going first. We all got chills as the words jumped out of his mouth. John suddenly said, “Garrett's going to go first.” Ohhh, goes the rest of the cabin as they sighed in relief. I felt as if I was being stabbed with a thousand needles.

I slowly put my helmet and harness on as the chills still went up my arms. I thought to myself, "why me, I haven't been bad all week?" I sat at the base of the pole petrified in fear. The volunteers told me to start climbing. I started to climb up the pole one peg at a time. I started to speed up. I just wanted to get it over with.

Eventually, I reached the top of the pole. The volunteer yelled, "put your right foot on the pole and pull yourself up!" I hesitate, but I did as I'm told. I was on top of the pole I thought to myself, "don't look down." I did it anyway. I began to panic. The pole started to shake under me. I yelled, "I want come down now!" The volunteer said, "you made this far! You're going to have to jump for the rope!" I cried in complete terror.

I counted to three, closed my eyes, and jumped, soaring through the air like an eagle. My hand caught on something. I opened my eyes as everyone was cheering. I caught the rope with two hands as I was suspended in the air. 

"Thank God," I think in my head. The volunteers lowered me and I got mobbed by my cabin mates telling me "good job" and "that was awesome!" This experience changed me forever. I didn't have such a big fear of heights anymore and I knew all things were possible. I always look at this experience when encountering new challenges because it gives me hope that I can do anything.