Transformation – the changing from the caterpillar to the butterfly – sounds so beautiful, and it is. But it is easy to skip over the middle part. The part when the caterpillar is inside the chrysalis completely dissolving itself and reforming. Yet it is not despite, but because of challenge, hardship, and a certain level of stress that we transform again and again.
As the school year comes to an end we find a natural marker of the time we have spent together as the community we call Girls Taasc. During this pilot year our group has learned and grown and changed, and changed again, responsive to the development of our group as a whole, but also responsive to each girl’s (and leader’s) unique individual growth as well.
So, next Thursday, we celebrate with our traditional end-of-year Taasc ice cream social. Can we transition to the summer season without this tradition of frenzied loading of toppings onto Asheville’s best – Ultimate Ice Cream? We think not. Those who come with dinner, be forewarned, children’s ice cream bowls have been known to be loaded not only with gummy bears, cookies, and all manner of sweet toppings – but also with unattended dinner items of those attempting to be healthy. Think chunks of chicken, hot dogs, potatoes taking their place of honor along with the candy. Truly – a free for all! Newcomers… be forewarned.
Who can blame them really, it’s feels great to cut loose after a season of fun and also hard work. And growing is hard work. Transformation – the changing from the caterpillar to the butterfly – sounds so beautiful, and it is. But it is easy to skip over the middle part. The part when the caterpillar is inside the chrysalis completely dissolving itself and reforming. Yet it is not despite, but because of challenge, hardship, and a certain level of stress that we transform again and again.
In Taasc, we the adult guides, are lucky. Lucky to witness, behold, hold space for and design ways to allow kids to find out where their edges are. To step beyond these edges, and find themselves flying, to look out at the children as they wave back to us, saying, here I am! I did this! I have this in me!
Moments of suffering — we call it Type 2 fun — are not fun in the moment, but are deeply fulfilling afterward. Type 1 fun – loading a million toppings on a giant bowl of ice cream – yes we are all for it. Type 2 fun – lugging a heavy backpack up a seemingly never ending gravel road, throwing yourself on the ground so you are collapsed like an upside down turtle, tears, complaints, getting back up, hiking on. Getting in sight of the bus, having a grown up offer to carry your pack the rest of the way, saying “No, I got this.” Making it to the bus.
Type 2 fun. You get it. You feel awesome afterwards. It lasts. It transforms you.
The end of year overnight with families is a sacred time in many ways, an experience of girls being in relationship with their families from the perspective of the growth they’ve earned over the course of their year.
What forms of growth do I see? … independence in camp skills, willingness to “go for it” with that first lunge into the cold river, working together as a fully contributing group member during camp break down, standing in front a group to find authentic voice in sharing stories about life, adventures, what is meaningful to you.
This kind of growth happens individually, as part of our inner world, but it happens together. Together in this supportive, loving, and daring community we call Girls Taasc. Girls Taasc, a place filled with strong girls climbing mountains, swimming in rivers and scaling cliffs. A place where kayaking unicorns paddle rainbow rivers carrying pandas on their backs.
So, at the ice cream social we celebrate, we celebrate the place where each girl is on her transformation journey. In recognition we present her with her Taasc shirt – never for sale, always earned.
By Lucy MacGregor