Here we go! We’ve been waiting all year and we are ready – we open our first 2014 trips today, June 23. As one parent recently told me, “My son lives all year for his one month with A.T. each summer!” This is a huge responsibility and we are ready to do all we can to meet these high expectations.
Our Directors are on the move, traversing the country, going over last minute details with our instructor teams as we prepare to greet our students. D’Mac is in Sacramento, Josh in Denver, Jan in Charlotte and I am in Seattle. We’ll open 11 trips and greet 224 students this week. We are excited to see many returning friends and finally meet our new students!
We’ve worked hard to get to this point. We love our 70 person instructor team and we’ve trained them well. We have a fleet of 25 brand new 2014 Ford Vans and we’ve bought lots and lots of good food. We’ve scouted trail heads, gone over final details with outfitters, learned about our students and plotted flight information. Now it’s time to execute and do what’s most important –welcome and get to know our students. We’ll first need to get their “buy in” for our safety mindset and our concept of community. Then it’s time to let the fun, adventure and growth begin.
Though we have planned carefully, much of what happens next is organic –Our instructors and students will set the tone for the unique happenings on each adventure. There will always be some surprises and often it’s the unplanned things that are the most memorable. This is a real adventure, not a Disneyland ride. When you put 500 creative souls together in some of the most amazing scenery in the world and free them from their electronic tether– there is a lot of magic waiting to happen.
After safety, one of the most important thing Adventure Treks provides is great role modeling. With a six instructor team, we hope that our students take away some of the best attributes from all of us as we work hard to be our best selves and try to be worthy of our students’ high expectations.
As I travel from trip to trip and bounce between our young campers at Camp Pinnacle, NC and our Adventure Treks students scattered across North America, sometimes I look for a role model to help me stay energized for a summer of minimal sleep and maximum engagement.
So when I need a role model to look up to– I listen to Bruce Springsteen and use his example to keep me inspired. If you’ve seen Bruce, I don’t need to write the next paragraph. You understand. First off – one has to be impressed with someone who is doing the best work of his career at age 65. He is a different musician now than when he was in his twenties but he knows his purpose, and has stayed true to his roots while constantly improving and innovating. His most recent record, High Hopes hit #1 in 30 countries.
He knows the powerful effect his music has on his fans and he works hard to live up to their expectations. Bruce never plays for less than 3 hours and doesn’t take a break. Few bands in their 20’s would be able to match his energy, even though he is at retirement age! Although he has played “Born to Run” in concert 1384 times and “Badlands” 1124 times– he sings these songs with the same energy and passion he did 40 years ago. Every show is different – and he tailors his shows to match his audience. If you attend a concert, he gives you the impression that yours is the only concert he will play this month and that he is doing the entire show just for you.
Bruce doesn’t hog the spotlight – He looks for every opportunity to let his band members shine. In fact, he has played with the same members of The East Street Band for over 40 years. The two members who have left did so because they died. This type of loyalty and leadership is inspiring. Bruce lives his values. He takes consistent stands without being trendy, preachy or petty. You can disagree with him and still respect him. He jumps into the fray only when he can be effective. And when one leaves a Bruce Springsteen Show, you don’t feel great about Bruce, you feel great about yourself and believe, at least until the spell of the show wears off, that you can accomplish anything you dream! And that is how we want our Adventure Treks students to feel when they leave us!
Emulating Bruce Springsteen is a challenging task – he has set the bar very high – As I lead our organization, surrounded by fabulous people– I’ll look towards Bruce to continue to inspire me to do my best work this summer!
Here’s to a great summer ahead. Thanks for being our partner in creating memorable and indelible experiences for your kids. I’m thrilled to have two daughters participating this summer!