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Where Social Skills Means Building Relationships



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Horseshoes and Hand-grenades

The old saying, “Almost only counts in Horseshoes and Hand-grenades” is not always true when it comes to relationships.  On one hot summer day, a camper stood on the edge of the 3-meter high dive fighting his instincts not to jump.  He had been watching countless of other kids jumping off with ease and wanted to experience it for himself.  He had made several trips up the high dive with each resulting in a emotional walk down.  On this occasion this camper had pumped himself up, visualized how great it would be to overcome his anxiety of heights, and possibly impress some of the girls that were poolside sunbathing. 
Before going up, the camper had been crystal clear that he did not want any encouragement or attention while he was on the board because that would only embarrass him and lessen the chances of him going through with it.  After several agonizing minutes of “should I or shouldn’t I” including a couple of trips back and forth on the diving board, we (the group) could not keep quite any longer.  One by one, the campers below called out with words of encouragement and advice.  There was a sense that we were about to see someone conquer his fears of heights and by jumping into the pool.
The group below became unified in their voice of encouragement, and all of us were with him on this emotional rollercoaster.  Sadly, after coming so very close to jumping the camper turned around for the final time and came down the stairs.  He started to cry because he felt he embarrassed, disappointed and a sense of letting everyone down, 
Even though this camper almost jumped, almost tackled his fear of heights, and almost impressed some poolside girls, the rest of the campers came together in non-judgmental and unified way.  It was amazing to be a part of such a patient group that put aside their needs in order to support someone else.  In the end, “almost” made a huge difference as the group rallied around one person’s quest to conquer his fear, and supported him to the bitter end.