For each of Proctor's three Summer Service trips, student access to technology is intentionally limited. While we have not been able to share many photos or blog updates from our trip in China (students are starting Week 3 of 4 with host families!) or our trip to our friends on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota (happening right now), the real impact of these trips on Proctor students seeps into their lives over time. This spring, Sage Fletcher '18 reflected while on Mountain Classroom about her experience at Rosebud during last summer's Rosebud trip. Dive into Sage's heart and mind through her words below.
The rolling prairie lands of Saint Francis, South Dakota were a familiar comfort after spending the past few days alone in the pine tree forests of the Black Hills. The flat grasslands, the massive horizons, and the gentle embrace of the wind welcomed me back to Rosebud. Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Rosebud as part of Proctor’s Summer Service Program, and I have been dying to come back ever since. I love how one can see for miles across the flat plains and watch as storms come rumbling over the skyline. Even though the landscape I was returning to felt so familiar, the earthy terrain was not dry from the 110 degree beating sun, but vibrant green from South Dakota’s recent transition out of winter. The air is much colder during the springtime; the temperature only rises to about 80 degrees at the hottest point of the day rather than the scorching 115 degree day that I experienced last July.
We spent the last couple days working on the Rosebud Reservation at both JR’s house and at the Sinte Gleska University Ranch. I loved being back at the horse ranch and looking at all of the work that I did with my summer group. We painted the deck and parts of the barn last year and now Mountain Classroom got to join in with the painting projects by painting the stalls inside the barn!
Rosebud taught me so much about hard work, love, and living in harmony with the environment that I was so excited to have the rest of my Mountain family experience the beauty and amiability of Rosebud. It was clear from our first drive away from the forested Black Hills to the grasslands of South Dakota, that the beauty of the Rosebud captured people’s hearts. On the way back from JR’s house one night during sunset, the sky was a golden hue and the clouds were a pale purple. As we drove from Mission back to Saint Francis, the golden and violet pigments of a beautiful sunset transformed into deep, dark, grey clouds. The monstrous thunderclouds stretched across the horizon in front of our bus and the lightning began to flash every few seconds. Behind us we could still see the peaceful colors of the sunset as we powered on into the massive storm. Rain started to pelt the windows and the thunder got tremendously loud. The sky was wonderful; the somber grey overcast blended with the bright orange rays of the setting sun.
When we got back to the house in Saint Francis, we all pilled out of the bus and ran to grab our rain gear as there was a slight break in the storm. Five minutes later the rain began to pelt the green grass and the lightning lit up the completely dark sky. We stripped off our shirts and ran around the yard taking full advantage of the “natural shower.” I think that Ryan even put shampoo on his head hoping that the rain would cleanse his dirty hair! The moment was perfect; all of us were freezing cold from the rain, but smiling and laughing as we sprinted around the lawn playing tag in the lightning storm.
As we closed our eyes to go to sleep, we could not help but think about our the sweat that we were going to participate in the next evening. Thank you to Rosebud and the White Hat Family for sharing the beauty of South Dakota with us and for helping us learn more about the Lakota culture. Thank you for letting me have great experiences both last summer and during the past few days. Thank you for teaching us the truth that “the only things that humans truly own is our bodies.” Thank you for everything.