Wilderness Adventures

The Best of Whatever You Are

By Tom Holland January 18, 2022

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.

-Dr. Martin Luther King


There are moments around a campfire where the sun is setting and a quiet comes over the group. Dinner has come and gone; bellies are full. The fire crackles and the weariness of a day well spent can be felt in this small community of former strangers. There and then, the WA quote book comes out. Sometimes, the quote is just left to linger, to be digested by the all the listeners.

Other times, a discussion will begin about the quote or about the person being quoted. You would be amazed at the discussions that can occur around these campfires. (Admittedly, it is these moments that Catherine and I live for as they present some of the most magical moments of our programs).

Last night, I reenacted this moment that happens with so many Wilderness Adventures kids with my own children. I read the quote above (a favorite of mine by Dr. King), and we talked about giving this world the best you have. The reflections provided by my 5-year-old as compared to my 14-year-old varied, but all spoke of some obligation of giving the world ‘all you got.’

As I contemplated this for myself and reflected on the legacy of Dr. King, I wondered about Wilderness Adventures and what ‘the best’ means for our company and our community.

For us, it has never been about being the biggest. We do not want for our campers and students to become mere numbers to us. Nor has it been about offering an adventure that concedes to the distractions that could hinder a camper’s overall experience.  We want our experiences to be timeless and tech-free as we fully embrace the wonders of Mother Nature.

You see, when Catherine and I reflect on what ‘the best’ means, it means being a place of growth for all children and families who seek to adventure with us. Moreover, it means making sure that our campfires, our trips, our camps and our adventures provide the opportunity for campers and staff to be a part of an extraordinary community where the individuality of all our members are celebrated and respected.

In the coming weeks, I am going to use this blog to highlight some areas where we are striving for ‘our best.’   First, we will highlight the work we are doing with the South Florida People of Color. With this exceptional organization, we are working to advance the notion that our campfires include all people. Then we will look at the work of the Wilderness Adventures Foundation. I do hope you will check back to learn more.

In the meantime, I urge you to have that quote book moment yourself.  What does ‘Be best at whatever you are’ mean to you?