327 Miles of Life

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As we rode down the hill toward Henley Island and I caught my first glimpse of the boats, the food tents, and the hundreds of rowers, I realized that I now knew what it meant to have a life-changing experience. Over the last six weeks, I had been at a girls’ summer camp called Row Ride Race. We spent every day rowing in the morning and cycling in the afternoon in order to prepare for the 327-mile bike ride to Saint Catherine’s, Canada, where we planned to row in the Royal Canadian Henley. I learned a lot about myself over those six weeks, and I developed many qualities that I had previously lacked, such as patience, open-mindedness, and thoughtfulness.

During my four weeks in Saratoga, I lived and trained with nine other girls. At first I secluded myself because I felt that the others had little in common with me, and I was not open to the idea of making new friends. My goal was to become a better rower and further my athletic career in preparation for college. After a few days, however, I began to realize that my camp experience could be as rich as I made it. Moreover, sitting alone was not going to make me a well-rounded person. I slowly started to participate in group conversations and was pleasantly surprised to discover...

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