AORE Association News September 2016 - Page 4


I am sitting on the edge of the largest lake in Italy thinking about the circuitous path that led me to being a highly involved volunteer member of this great association. Glass of local wine in hand, 2600 ft. cliffs of dolomitic stone to my right and a stiff breeze that daily propels 100s-1000s of sailboats and windsurfers during the summer months does a solid job of continuing to inspire me to be outside and share the tools to inspire others to explore, teach, play and learn in, as they say in Italian, natura. Often we need to get away from our civilization and go to another place we might call our wilderness home, a place in nature that draws us to explore, return as often as possible to relax, be challenged, get grounded, play with others, get lost, sleep under the stars, feel humbled, heighten our senses, listen to other voices that might guide us towards our inspired path and many more reasons.

Daily, I watch my kids exploring some of the wonders surrounding us. Rock cliffs to climb, rivers to paddle on or float down, lakeshore to throw rocks, lake surface to cut through on a sailboat, hiking trails that meander the forest, and bike trails that carve through the farmland. Access is abundant. Options almost seem limitless. My wife and I see these places as learning environments for us, our kids, our friends, our neighbors, and we often share our excitement with those less apt to venture outside by bringing them to our various playgrounds.

I think back to key influencers in my life who helped me see the forest of opportunity for the trees surrounding me, I go back to my mom, my scout leaders and then who gave me monumental leaps in responsibility and volume of learning was my college program, UC Davis’ Outdoor Adventures. My boss, Dennis Johnson, had the faith and courage to hire, train and inspire dozens upon dozens of young aspiring college students who were also climbers, kayakers, rafters, backpackers and fishermen/women to help share the passion of the outdoors, the personal growth found in a rafting trip, multi-pitch climb, kayak tour of SF bay or backpacking trip in the Tahoe basin (to name a very limited few). We managers and guides were advocates both for our natural communities we visited, but also for the individuals we introduced to these environments. We were the critical influencers who fostered connection to the land, encouraged healthy lifestyles, and not only in our guide training, we helped develop future leader’s perspective on self, others and community.

There is no need to stretch the imagination to see how those touched by a college program, community based or military recreation program would want to return to a central location where their efforts could help tens of thousands of in the field users to have a continued excellent and inspiring experience.

From The President

Dear AORE Members,