Leaders at WA

By Tom Holland July 3, 2017

At our evening circles, we do a fair amount of reflection on past adventures and we look ahead to what tomorrow holds. As we embark on the adventures of July, this weekend, I could not stop thinking about how great June was. June was  so fantastic because of our amazing staff team who commits themselves to the WA cause. As I think about each of them and the work they are currently doing to guide our students all over the planet, I cannot help but think of the qualities that make each one of these members of our team special.

There are many traits that we look for in a WA staff member, but the one that is central to all is that they have proven themselves as good teachers for our kids. Some organizations look to fill their staff with highly proficient outdoor enthusiasts who possess one outdoor skill that connects them to the trip that they will lead. They seek to find the best climbers, or the best whitewater kayakers or the best backpackers.

My history in the camp industry has shown me that to seek these individuals is not always the best formula. What we at WA seek to do is to not find the all-star fly fisherman to lead our fly fishing trips, but rather to find the all-star fly fishing teacher to guide our students.

You see, it takes someone special to want to put their own rod down and pass up the big fish to watch a child catch the monster rainbow trout swimming in the pool. Many great fisherman, climbers, kayakers or outdoor enthusiasts want the moment for themselves: to reach the peak for their list of accomplishments. However, that is not what we look for. We look for the person whose thrill will be to see others in that moment. To be on the other side of the camera, catching the thrill of a young adult achieving those things for the first time. Their moment of glory does not come from their own personal success, but from the time spent instructing a student who has never held a rod before in the technique, the knots, the tangles, the float and then the tug that indicates a strike has happened for our kids. Our leaders will look back on the summer and will not remember the big fish that they caught but the biggest fish that their students caught. To teach is the goal, and their glory comes by way of seeing the success of others. They are highly proficient in their areas of expertise but we seek them out because they are also givers who long to see the success of others.

There is a difference to these teachers that will shape our student’s summer and that is the Wilderness Adventures edge.

And as our fishing programs begin this week, we can’t wait to see our fishing guides in action with our students.

Here’s to July! Fish on!