Youtube is crowded with entertaining mindless videos of cats caught on ceiling fans, manatees bumping into aquarium glass, and giant slides that will land you in a kiddie pool of water…but every once in a while you come across a gem that brings tears to your eyes and teaches you real life lessons. This is why social media can have such an amazing impact on our lives.
I used to teach kids team building, leadership development, self-esteem building, goal setting and so much more, all in the guise of summer camp. I had the good fortune to work for an amazing program called ActionQuest. This teen summer program was a 3 week program filled with fun and sun in the Caribbean aboard 50′ yachts while scuba diving every day…what more could you ask for?
ActionQuest sounds like a luxury retreat for kids on the outside, but in reality it is an amazing growth experience. Not just for the students, but for the staff members as well. Sometimes I learned as much from the teens as they did from me. I’m sure on day one, many really had no idea what they were in for… Oh they thought it was all about sunbathing, scuba diving and sailing. Along with the cool stuff came all the responsibilities to keep a boat moving. Cleaning and maintaining the boat, cooking meals, trimming sails, checking engine oil, plotting the course, studying for the exams, and so much more made up their daily routines. It’s not just a vacation, but a total life experience. Some of these kids had never cooked macaroni and cheese nor cleaned their own toilet before, let alone sailed a boat or dived in the ocean.
So much to learn…so little time. Many came back year after year because they fell in love with the program and it took them outside the every day. Now many of those teens I once worked with have gone on to do amazing things. Some are marine scientists, environmentalists, some travel the world, and climb mountains. One student I had several summers in a row, who was dealing with anger issues, turned his frustrations toward restoring an old sailboat. He pushed his limits toward growth and change and graduated with honors, aspirations and will be going on to a graduate degree working in African nations. It just blows me away when I see many of my “kids’ ” (Not so much kids any more) status updates on Facebook.
I hope in some small way I took part in that ripple effect that moved them along their journey.
I loved seeing the light bulbs click on. I loved seeing those ah ha moments. I loved seeing them stretch their imagination and discover that boundaries are limitless. If you can dream it you can do it. These were always my mantras on programs like ActionQuest because these were the precepts I lived by alone on the travel road.
When I stopped living a life filled with adventure and working in jobs that motivated kids, I began to get caught up in the everyday. It was easy to forget the lessons I taught. It was easy to slip into a life that accepted limitations. This can happen without thought when you live by rote repetition — wake-up, make breakfast, go to work, come home, sit on the couch…do it all over again–dreams are easily lost.
It’s so easy to find yourself saying, “I can’t do this…” “I can’t do that…” “I wish I had done…” It becomes easier to feel trapped in a job, or a situation and not be able to see your way out. I know I’m lucky to have experienced what it is like to live my dreams. Thus, it’s not a far stretch to recapture that desire. (but it still can be a stretch when mesmerized by the everyday)
When you begin to forget that the limits are as far out as your dreams can reach, when you begin to see the confines of your life contain you, you might be lucky enough to come across a gem like this on youtube. Then you can thank social media for connection you back to the things that really matter…at least that’s what I did.
Seeing 2 short minutes can re-align your perspective.
For all those people who say they “can’t…” For anyone who has ever had a bad day and let it continue for a year or more. For anyone who has ever quit before reaching their goal. For anyone who is afraid to try new things…you can’t miss this short clip.