Notes from Big John

by Andrea Wackerle

As we embark on our first day of staff training, I look out at the faces of the staff that have signed on for an extraordinary summer, and I see something really remarkable. Alumni coming full circle to give of themselves and provide leadership to the next generation. We have former summer campers, Academy students, and Gap year participants working with us this summer. The knowledge these young people bring is different than your average staff and is really very special. Only they know the angst new participants feel as they drive up the mountain. They also have firsthand experience with the tools their leaders used that helped them learn.  These dynamic experiences as campers, students and Gappers made them want to return. This gift of coming full circle will also provide them with a remarkable chance to develop their leadership skills and style as it comes to nurturing youth.

I have come to realize what an incredible journey it is to be a SOAR instructor. Therefore, from this Newsletter on, we will be including our Alumni Instructors as recipients. When you think about your memories at SOAR I am confident two things jump out at you. The places you visited, and the leaders that worked to make your journey special.

So let me take a moment to say thank you to all of those that gave so much of themselves to help all of you find your path (literally and figuratively). And as for these dynamic alumni joining the ranks of staff, I offer this advice: Take the best of what you learned from others, add your special skills and talents and make it even better. I would love to hear from all of you some of your favorite SOAR memories. It has been a pleasure watching you create memories that helped weave the tapestry of your life.