Atlanta, Ga.

It’s a Jungle Out There.
Dress Appropriately.

By Alicia Jordan

When asked to lead a group of college students on a backpacking trip on Cumberland Island, my first thought was, “Yes. Now I have a chance to wear that new purple jacket with the grey yoga sleeves and matching Nike sneakers.” Probably not the first thought when asked to be in a leadership position, but I live to speak without having to say a word by dressing well and leading without having to bark any orders.

Little did I know Cumberland Island would win me over with its natural beauty so breathtaking that everyone, including me, could care less what they were wearing, as long as they were wearing something. From marshy waters filled with alligators and turkey vultures, to sandy white beaches where horses run wild all the way to the palmetto-lined trails of the forests, Cumberland Island is where I felt like I was in a tropical oasis, only to remember: This is my Georgia, and I am still at home.

“Fashion-forward,” “high heels,” “business savvy.” None of these phrases should come to mind when one thinks of Cumberland Island. But when people think of me, those are the exact words that come to mind. From my outward appearance, I would appear to be one of the last women in Atlanta to be asked to lead a group of students backpacking across Cumberland Island, but I do, and I consider it one of the most exciting times of the year.

I look forward to the annual service project on Cumberland Island almost more than I look forward to Christmas and Girl Scout cookie season. Cumberland is a treasure that crosses all boundaries. It is a place that stands with open arms for people from age 0 to 100, every gender, ethnicity and race. Everyone has a place on Cumberland.

There’s something comical yet calming about waking up at the crack of dawn, tripping out of your not-so-January-friendly tent and rushing off to the cold oceanfront just to watch the sun rise over the water. This once-in-a-lifetime view had me floating on a cloud, until I discovered that earlier, during my rush to the bathroom, I had dropped a pair of bright pink lace undies on the trail, which everyone was now using to start their day!

The humors of the island....

~ Alicia Jordan works for the Girl Scouts of Metro Atlanta and volunteers for the Georgia Conservancy.


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