By Cassidy Alford
For most kids, August means that it’s almost September, a.k.a. almost time for school. And, as nerdy as I was as a child, my excitement for the first day of school was rivaled by only one thing: the annual DiscoveryBound picnic.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, each August the local DiscoveryBound chapter hosted a picnic at a local park that included Christian Science families (and friends, too, of course!) from the entire Portland area. Granted, it’s been nearly eight years since I’ve been to one, but my child’s-eye memory of these summer extravaganzas is pretty straightforward… BEST DAY OF SUMMER. HANDS DOWN.
Whether it was the seeming miles and miles of picnic tables covered in potluck offerings, or the sand volleyball courts where we would spend hours making up rules to new games, or even cruising around the park on our training wheels like a junior biker gang, the DiscoveryBound picnic days were the perfect end to the summer. The cherry on top of the sundae, if you will.
But whatever activities ended up filling the hours from year to year, the absolute highlight of each year’s festivities was, without a doubt, the people.
I’m sure by now we sound like a broken record… “DiscoveryBound is all about the people.” Yeah, yeah you get it. But it’s for real, so I’ll say it again. The people.
That biker gang I mentioned? Turns out those kids have become some of my absolute best friends in the entire world.
One of them I got to play college lacrosse with, and even ended up rooming with for a semester. Another one has never been more than a phone call away whenever I need metaphysical support. And, another one of those kids was the first person to my door when I was home recovering from a serious skateboarding accident in high school. I even moved halfway across the country, and those friends remained a rock of stability and companionship through it all.
It’s pretty simple, right? It was just a bunch of families bringing brownies and salads and hanging out for a day. But to me, those were the days that extended my definition of family beyond my immediate relatives. Those were the days that taught me how I could use Christian Science actively and practically in my everyday life. And, those were the days that introduced me to the world of DiscoveryBound, propelling me to incredible experiences as a member of the National Leadership Council (Class of 2013) and as a staff member at the A/U Ranches.
I could write novels about the ways that DiscoveryBound and Adventure Unlimited have blessed me, but I’ll just say this:
Whether it was attending a potluck picnic as an eight-year-old, a service trip to Peru as a 16-year old, or leading a group of teens up a 14,000-foot mountain as a 20-year-old, the Adventure Unlimited – DiscoveryBound family is the greatest gift I have ever received. And for that, I am so incredibly grateful.
If you’re a DiscoveryBound alum, too, we want to see you at the A/U-DB 60th Reunion, August 21-24, 2015. Find out more and register.