Today was the coolest day yet here in Browning. We go to experience both aspects of the fascinating environment that is Browning. Not only did we get to work with the amazing students as we came here to do, but we were also able to experience the beautiful nature that Montana has to present. The day started with our typical work at the school. My work with the students continued to be challenging, however, as the 5th-grade students that I am working with present different challenges than the older students that most of my peers are dealing with. There are 8 students in the 5th-grade class and only 5 of them consistently come to school. The struggle that I face is somewhat strange because the kids that are usually there don’t need much attention or help. After school, I hear all these stories from my peers about the older kids talking about their lives at home and their personal struggles with drugs and alcohol, and I see none of this in my students. I have often grown frustrated and disappointed because I wanted to always have a job to do and always have a student that needed my help. Due to this, I have struggled to form strong relationships with the kids. I keep reminding myself however that it is not about my personal satisfaction but more importantly, it is about the kids. Even if there isn’t a simple way to help them with homework, I can help them by just being a positive role model for them and continuing to do the little things that I can to help around the classroom. After all, the fact that these kids have not yet become corrupted by the society that they live in serves as the light at the end of the tunnel and gives me hope that they can break the cycle and live clean, productive lives.
The second part of the day was just as enlightening as the first despite being a totally different experience. We left right from the school and took an hour-long car ride into Glacier National Park. This car ride alone was one of the highlights of my day as the group really bonded and cracked jokes and jammed out to music the entire ride. As we got closer and closer to the park, the view became better and better. Words can’t even describe the beauty that we could see through the windshield so all I can say is head up here if you want to see what I’m talking about. Then we had the chance to snowshoe through the beauty that we had just witnessed from afar. Again I’m struggling to put it into words. It was really a thought-provoking spiritual journey. I felt as if I was one with nature as we hiked through the trees on seemingly unmarked trails, making fresh tracks in the snow. The views were incredible and to think that we were on sacred land that the Blackfeet roamed thousands of years ago made it even cooler. It’s safe to say that Glacier National Park has solidified itself on the list of places that I have to go back and see more of, and allowed me to see the complete beauty of Browning. ~Colin'18
This day was a day of new experiences for me in and out of the school, although it did not start out that different. The day started like yesterday, get up before dawn then walk on a cold wooden floor to the shower, followed by a bowl of knock-off cereal and we headed out to the school. When we got to the school, we played basketball just like the other day. Afterwards, we went to homeroom but there weren’t as many kids as there was yesterday, which made me wonder why? Anyway, the day started just like yesterday even though there were only four kids in our homeroom with P.E. We played floor hockey, in the middle of choosing teams another kid showed up, Trentin. He has severe ADHD and I saw that right when he was interacting with the teacher but, he was very friendly to me. I was wearing a yellow shirt and he walked right up to me when we were choosing teams and said “Hey! Yellow! I want you on my team you're cool!” That made me think that this was going to be a good day. During P.E., we had a lot of fun even though we were not on the same team. He tried to score on me and he was good for a fifth grader. We then went to spelling where I did not get to see him a lot but I did get to help many of the other students especially one girl named Bella who needed a little more extra help. I tried to make it seem like she came up with the answer every time and it seemed like she was genuinely getting the concepts. Then we went on to language arts where we read the book of Matthew and everyone was doing a great job including Trentin. After that, we went to Science class where we watched a video about Mount St. Helens and Trentin wanted me to sit next to him. We watched the video but at some points the teacher pointed out certain things that might be important and he could not write it down fast enough but he seemed to be interested in the video, which hurt me to see that happen. Then we had lunch and again Trentin told me sit with him at lunch too and I did. We talked about all kinds of different things from the new show “Stranger Things” to random videos on YouTube and he reminded me of myself when I was his age because of the way he spoke so energetically and the kind of stuff he liked. Then we played a little bit of basketball together but we cut it short because the 12 of us were going to Glacier National Park. The whole trip we were driving past the wide range of pastures where we saw cows grazing in the snow-patched golden fields along with several horses. We even saw a family of Buffalo near the road, which was one of the coolest sights I saw that day. When we arrived, the whole park seemed to overwhelm me all at once because of the massive size of the mountains. When I looked at them, it seemed as though they were almost breaking through the sky then as I looked down all I could see for miles of trees at the base and flat plains that stretched for miles and miles. Then, I immediately saw the same bench where my brother, when he went on this trip took a picture.
We got an introduction to the park by the rangers and they seemed very passionate about working there. While we were snowshoeing, I was looking around at the park around me and all I could see for a while was bare trees but then as we kept walking we came to a clearing of the most beautiful view I have ever seen. We were surrounded by massive pine trees, there was snow all over the ground, a clear sky and the mountains surrounding the trees I had to stop and just appreciate the view. We then walked through a trail in the trees and soon surrounded by a forest with the sun cracking through each branch. As we kept walking, the ranger told us several different facts about Glacier and asked us to look around and try to see any wildlife. We only found a few tracks. Anyway, we kept walking through till we reached another clearing, and this one was much larger than the other and we could see the same view as before but this time there we saw larger mountains. I had to take a moment and just savor the beauty of the entire view of it all. We kept walking through the trail and came to an open snow-covered field and when we reached there, one of the rangers told us that we were going to play a game. The game was moose versus wolves. I was a wolf along with the rest of the group, that had to hunt down Matt & John (the moose), and they had to run off in the field without snowshoes. They got caught by us because unlike wolves, moose don’t have short legs to take up the surface of the deep snow so they run slower which the ranger taught us. We kept walking through the snow-covered woods and came across yet another clearing, yes mom I took pictures of all of these things. We soon started to make our way back but there were these moments where we all took pictures of the same mountain, each of those moments reminded me that I have a relationship with nature itself and should care for it more. As soon as we were done with the tour, I quickly took off my boots told the closest person to me to follow me to a bench and take my picture. Soon everyone followed but I made sure I got that bench photo. We came home listening to great songs because I was playing the music but everyone seemed to enjoy it too and Mr. Bobak made quite possibly the greatest breakfast for dinner meals I have ever had. Now a message for my family: Mom, Dad, and Danny…I am having a great time with everyone. Mom, I am wearing plenty of layers don’t worry. Everyone here is like a brother to me now, sorry Danny. J And Dad, thank you for the advice about getting out what I put into it, it’s really helping. Love you all. ~Andy'18