My name is Joey and I'm 15 years old. Up until I was about 13 years old, I grew up a really unstable home. I failed just about every class I took because I felt like I had no meaning in the world, and I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Everything changed when I met a man named John, a counselor who my mom sent me to, who changed my life in a whole new way. John told me that if I could get good grades, have no negative police contact, do at least 60 hours of community service, and stay sober, he would take me on the "2Xtreme Dream" trip.
The "2Xtreme Dream" was a trip to southern Russia to climb Europe's tallest mountain, Mt. Elbrus, standing at 18,510 feet. The trip was paid for by a non-profit organization. The trip also included doing community service to help the Chechen orphans. There were 10 guys ranging from age 14 to age 19 that participated on the trip. Some of the guys had more extreme stories than I did and some not so extreme. We all had to work together to summit that mountain. The whole trip was based on the metaphor, "life is a mountain." Every step you take is a step toward success. I am writing this not for myself, but for the man who changed my life and the lives of many other young men. To learn more about my trip and the man that changed my life go to the 2Xtreme website.
Here is what I wrote in my blog:
The 2Xtreme trip changed my life. Making it to the top of Elbrus was something I never thought I could do from the beginning. Many people told me I was never going to be able to do it but that's one of the things that helped me make it to the top, to prove them wrong. Being at the top of the mountain was the best feeling I have ever had and I'll never forget that moment. I know now that I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it. The trip has made me look at life in a whole different way, like how the Chechen kids had gone through so many bad things but are still so happy. The trip really made me realize we really do live in a wonderful country. I never thought that I would be able to go without my family and friends for 16 days, but on the trip I made new friends who I will never forget. The coolest thing about the guys on the team is they're not like my other friends who tell me I have to do illegal things to be cool or fit in. The guys on the team are the some of the best guys I've ever met. I'm so thankful for John and what he does so I can do what I did, and also be able to meet kids that have gone through stuff like I have so that I am able to relate to. The "2Xtreme Dream" taught me so much--like how incredible it feels to accomplish such a huge thing as summating a mountain. Thank you everybody that was a part of this--you guys helped me become a better person.
Submitted by Anonymous