Ginny, SOTF #3537, shares with us all here;
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e.cummings
OLD SCHOOL Sentiments
Remember what it felt like as a child at the end of summer? The air changed. The colors became muted as the end of the growing season hit. Nights became cooler. Locusts began their incessant call as daylight waxed to evening. We stayed outside till the street lights came on…milking every moment of joy we could from each day. School was right around the corner. Maybe we had our new book bag purchased. Maybe we had new shoes. Maybe our moms were busy sewing dresses or knitting sweaters or socks to send us into a new season. Whatever was going on in your individual world, you knew a change was coming. Something new. Something fresh. Something unknown. It was simultaneously exciting and terrifying. And…inevitable.
Change of Season
Thus we have August. The “dog days of summer”. Heat shimmers off the asphalt during the day. Nights hold a velvety warmth for an hour or so before the chill brings you closer to the fire or you grab a wrap for your shoulders. You know your camping days are numbered now. What felt like an endless stretch of time before you turns into a sense of urgency to get out there and get some fun under your belt while you still can.
No Better Time than NOW
I was fortunate to find the Sisters in late spring. When I joined, I had an open calendar, a new camper, and unlimited time to spend traveling, meeting new friends, and exploring new places. My husband had just died in March so my time was now my own for the very first time in my life. As a method of coping with his death, I signed up for every event I possibly could and I have to tell you…that was singularly the best thing I ever could have done for myself. I had instant support, yet there wasn’t any of this “hand-wringing pity” you so often are faced with as a grieving widow. Instead, I had empathetic listeners who sat respectfully while I shared my story, reached out and gave me a hug, then immediately said, “Hey, a bunch of us are going hiking in a little bit. Wanna join us?” It was exactly what I needed. Acknowledgement of my pain…encouragement for my healing.
Jump in With Both Feet
The fast paced, frenetic schedule I set up for myself when I first joined soon morphed into a more laidback stretch of time. I relaxed into the comfort that comes when you arrive at an event and recognize someone you met earlier in the year. You get a little time and experience under your belt and before you know it, you start to recognize the newbies. The ones who are currently sitting in the seat you sat in not so long ago. This is one of the very best times to be a Sister…when you can reach back and offer the same love and encouraging support to those coming up the ranks behind you. It gives you such a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment to have learned new skills you can now share.
Growing Up & Growing Confident
Sisters on the Fly has grown so much since its inception nearly two decades ago. There have been growing pains, surely. But the basic premise of the whole endeavor has withstood the test of time. Sisters have come and gone as not every group is the right fit for everyone. I am here to tell you, as a member of five years, you will get out what you put into this organization. If you are looking for someone to cater to your every whim, you are in the wrong place. But if you are willing to roll your sleeves up, pitch in where needed, step out of your comfort zone, and be willing to put yourself out there to meet new people and learn new things, you are going to thrive with these gals.
Take Ownership & Make it Yours
If there aren’t enough events in your area…host some. If there aren’t enough events with your area of interest, create one. The Wranglers in your area are there to answer your questions and to guide you through the website to teach you how to find events. While some Wranglers host events, they can’t be expected to plan, organize, and carry out every event in your area. We Wranglers depend on our area Sisters to step up and be brave and BOLD and schedule the kinds of events you want to go to. We’ll help in anyway we can by answering questions and pointing you in the right direction.
Sisters on the Fly is entirely what YOU make it to be. There are large events all over the country that are often “bucket list” trips to aspire to. There are yearly events that are a bit competitive to get into because so many Sisters want to return year after year. That’s why we have gone “back to basics” and we are encouraging lots more small, free, impromptu gatherings. No muss, no fuss. Just camping, gathering around the campfire, sharing our Sisterhood with other like-minded women. I don’t know about you, but I kind of enjoy the smaller gatherings more anyway. You have the opportunity to really get to know your fellow Sisters on a deeper level. There is more time to bond. There is more time to laugh. There is even more time to nap or read in a hammock or stand in a river. Not every minute has to be planned out to make a SOTF event successful. This isn’t a competition to see who can put on the biggest show. Far from it.
Step in & Step Up
So, we’re winding down the camping season. Why not step in with both feet and start something new? We have recently had a huge surge in new memberships with the video released by The Travel Channel. Take advantage of that uptick in the number of Sisters available to have more fun than anyone with. You will never regret having fun with a bunch of women who have magically become girls again!
With much love,
Post contributed by blogger, Positive Aging Expert & Motivational Speaker,
Ginny McKinney, SOTF #3537
Marshmallow Ranch Blog