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Roses, Buds and Thorns

By Freddy Carruth, Phase II Fellow

Just like Phase I, Phase II has provided me with so many new experiences and opportunities. In my last blog as a Phase II Fellow, I want to reflect on these experiences and have picked a couple of roses, buds, and thorns to share. To quickly explain, roses are highlights or favorite moments, buds are so-so or room for improvement moments, and thorns are those prickly, uncomfortable or unhappy moments. Though I am going to list two from each category, this doesn’t mean that I had an equal ration of good, so-so, and bad experiences. Refer to figure 1. for a more accurate depiction of the proportion of my Phase II experiences.

My first rose for this year was being part of Project GROWS – and most especially, getting to work on their first-ever week-long summer camp! I wrote a lot about that experience already in another blog, so I won’t go down the list of my favorite parts from camp, but I think I liked Little GROWers so much because of the excitement of working on a brand-new program. I had a lot of fun with everyone and it felt great to be involved in every stage of the camp’s planning.

Little GROWers Camp.

My next rose for this year was becoming an uncle to our family’s newest member, Isla. Now I can start scheming on how to become the favorite cool uncle. I’m already planning on all the hobbies I will introduce to her: climbing, music, Settlers of Catan, and maybe gardening! It will be an exciting time, but before that, I still need to learn a lot about babies. However, I’m confident that under my tutelage, my niece will be the greatest gardening, climbing musician who ever played Catan.

Here are the other two “Back Creek Boys.” We are all now officially “Back Creek Uncles.”

Other than pricy car troubles earlier in the year, my biggest thorn was not being able to go rock climbing as much as I wanted to. Climbing was a big part of my life when I lived in Utah and I think about it all the time. However, recently I haven’t climbed more than twice in the past 6 months. Partly this is because of my busy schedule, but mostly it is due to the lack of convenient, quality climbing spots or gyms. In the next place that I move, I hope to become involved in the local climbing community and rekindle my passion.

My hangboard that I don’t use as much as I should. Not for two fingered pull-ups!

And now for the buds – those experiences where I can still improve or have worked to improve. It would be easy to argue that my whole experience at Project GROWS is a bud because of all the new skills I’ve learned as an Education Assistant. It has been a very rewarding experience and I look forward to continuing the work I experienced.

My last bud for this blog is cooking. This year has been filled with both disastrous and delicious home cooking attempts, but the biggest cooking bud for me this year was with sourdough bread. I made so many attempts with so many micro-adjustments in order to make the best bread my oven could make. Even when I finally made some tasty loaves, I still had to figure out how to keep them tasting fresh, which can be tricky with homemade bread. I look forward to all the future loaves, and to all the sourdough bakers out there: let’s get this bread!

Obligatory bread pictures.

Overall, my experiences this year have been very rewarding and I am looking forward to where “Phase III” will take me. I can only hope it will be filled with just as many roses and buds as this year.

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