My initial thoughts about Sorinex’s Winterstrong were not anywhere close to what the real experience was. I thought Winterstrong would be a repeat or similar version of Summerstrong. Summerstrong is an event filled with speakers, lifting, eating, and fellowship.
Winterstrong contained many of those same elements except for it being totally outside in the winter. Winterstrong is designed for each individual to get to know more about themselves and how to live with others. Essentially, survival and survival skills!
For the first time in my life, I slept outside in a tent in a sleeping bag. There were othes tents all around me and we had to depend on each other. I knew some of the people from past interactions which made it slightly more comfortable. Not really knowing what I was doing, I chose to bring a 2 person tent which meant I had to sleep at a diagonal (better than bringing a 1 person tent!). That is the part of Winterstrong that brought about the most anxiety for me.
I should also mention the temperature dropped down to 29 degrees overnight. There’s no way I can write about the conversation I was having with myself during the night. I will say I had to use every bit of mental toughness I’ve ever used myself or taught to others. The first half of the night was rough and getting up to use the outdoor restroom required some brain activity that I wasn’t used to accessing in the middle of the night.
The next day I can remember being very happy to get moving around and looking for a fire. The food was unbelievably delicious. The amount of calories my body was using to keep warm and active was tremendous. I probably ate twice as much as I usually do at my normal meals just to compensate for the difference. I found my body craved more animal-based products than normal as well. Maybe that’s because the people cooking put so much love into the food. This food was necessary for the activities at Winterstrong.
My favorite activity at Winterstrong was the team competition. There were 11 teams of 5 and the captain was the Archer. Together we ran through the woods using a map and stopping at designated stop points. To be successful we had to be excellent communicators and use our leadership skills. At the stop points, we had to lift, shoot and fire, or the Archer had to shoot a target. We even had to track our food on one of the stations. The day prior to the competition we were trained by professionals ranging from FBI Agents, law enforcement, survivalists, lifelong hunters, and weapons specialists.
I came back home with a new respect for those who had to brave the elements outdoors before we have many of the common luxuries available today. I definitely came back a stronger and more compassionate person. The world could definitely use more Winterstrongs to help us better understand and appreciate one another.