Things are happening people! These update posts always excite me as they only happen when a new thing is going down. So here it is, the latest and greatest from the life of Garrett!
My last post was on May 17. Since then I’ve experienced my second summer at Camp Becket in Becket, MA. It was a fantastic season and I really enjoyed the 10 weeks I had with campers and fellow staff. The high point of the season was much levels of worry and, frankly, stress than summer 2017. I felt so much more at home and went about the Becket days with a faith that programs in my area (the ropes course) were going to work out, that we could take things a bit easier than I used to think. I didn’t realize how much I thought about things my first year! It was just a more enjoyable summer, which was a freeing and gracious experience.
Immediately post-summer I took a week off and adventured with one of my English brothers, Jon Sanders, plus another friend from camp for a few days. I came back from the trip refreshed and ready for the fall season with the Berkshire Outdoor Center. I have gained a serious appreciation for vacation after that experience. Make it happen in your life people! The fall season at BOC was one of my favorites of my entire career there. It was busy but the group of staff was a good bunch and we had a blast. My time at BOC came to an end on October 16. I’m happy to say that day was a wonderful note to end on with an enjoyable last day of work and a memorable 27th birthday party. At that point I had been around for over two years (minus my time in NZ) and I felt it was a good time to launch into life’s next step.
That next step started with a tour of a few different potential employers. Over the last year I’ve felt a growing urge in my spirit to find a place, people, and program I can invest in for 3-5 years. I’m looking to get back into trips based programming (my first love), be closer to family, and go back west. I’ve missed all these things and so I started job searching at the beginning of this year. I found a few outdoor ministries that lined up with what I felt in my heart and so I got in touch with them. We talked, I applied, they invited me to visit, I accepted their invitation, we put together a plan, I bought some plane tickets, I packed my bags, and on October 17 I stepped into the great unknown of my new season.
I visited a team in Bend, OR, that was with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and had an outdoor adventure emphasis, then spent time in Horseshoe Bend, ID, and Canby, OR, both of which hold adventure bases with Youth Dynamics, a PNW based parachurch organization focusing on reaching teens and connecting them to Jesus and His church. After 2.5 weeks of asking questions, meeting new people, taking notes, processing information and feelings, and praying, I was pooped. I had a lot to consider.
November 5th brought me to the airport in Portland for my 19th flight of his year. I returned to Massachusetts, packed my car with all my belongings still at camp, said my final goodbyes to those lovely people out there, and hit the road. My end destination was Portland, OR, for Thanksgiving and I was intent on seeing some things along the way. So I went south to Phili (cheesesteaks!), then to Gettysburg (wow, sobering), DC (hey Lincoln!), Shenandoah (“Country roads, take me home…”), North Carolina (Hi Em!), Nasheville (rock on my friends), Memphis (can I get more of those baked beans please?), AK Ozarks (wow, that’s pretty), north Texas (thanks for keeping me company George Strait), Colorado Springs (Hello mountains, Jesse and Katie!), Boise (More family! And an oil change), and finally, Portland (Happy Thanksgiving!). It was 4,000 miles, 60+ driving hours, 14 days, and 17 states of fun. So glad I invested the time and energy to explore those places! America, you’re huge, beautiful, diverse, and awesome.
As you might expect, I had a lot of time to think on my drive. With all this time I needed to decide where I was headed after Thanksgiving. The moment of decision came in Virginia after much prayer, thought, consideration, and advice seeking. In the end it was clear that moving to Horseshoe Bend, ID, to join the Youth Dynamics team there was the best fit for me. There were a lot of factors that I considered in the process; it wasn’t easy. At first I had some doubts about whether I made the right decision, but as time goes on and things start to move along I find myself getting progressively more excited and affirmed by those around me. My position with YD will be a Volunteer and Summer Staff Training Manager. My responsibilities (give or take) will involve recruiting and training summer staff, developing relations with volunteers and community partners, guiding in the summer, coordinating a program area or two (rafting, climbing, etc), and otherwise helping administrate local ministry. Honestly, it’s exactly what I’ve wanted to do for years! So what happens now? There are a few things to accomplish before I start work in earnest with the team.
Yesterday I returned to Missoula, MT. I’ll be here for the next few months to start a process called support raising. Being a missional organization, Youth Dynamics requires staff to fundraise their own salary. The prospect definitely is challening, but it’s one that I have peace about and foresee being a reality in my life for a while, either in ministry or secular non-profits. This involves meeting with anyone and everyone I know and inviting them to join my support team in one form or another: donating monthly to my salary, praying continually, and any other form of support folks want to offer. Once enough people have joined the team and my monthly salary is covered I can start working full-time with Youth Dynamics in Idaho. I’m told this process averages 6-12 months, but the goal is to get to Horseshoe Bend for the busy summer season when programming peaks. I’ll be in Missoula until it’s no longer more beneficial for me to be here than elsewhere, a period of time I anticipate being 2-3 months. But hey, who knows what will happen? Ultimately the goal is to start working with the team in Horseshoe Bend as soon as possible. God willing it will be sooner rather than later.
There’s so much I am going to learn in this next season. Already emotions and thoughts are surfacing that I’ve had to work through, and I haven’t even started the training with YD! It’s all going to be so new, I’m excited to tackle challenges and lean into the Lord and my community to grow and develop as a friend, servant, and leader. There’s a lot of questions I still have, a lot of uknown. The only way to uncover it all is to keep moving forward; each day gives me the opportunity to take more steps. I’m excited, nervous, curious, unsure, and hopeful all at once. I’m confident, though, with the guidance of Papa God and the love and support of all of you reading this that this next season will be the best yet of my life. It’s going to challenge, grow, refine, stretch and redefine me so much! Ahhh I’m getting jumpy just thinking about it. Life is incredible isn’t it?
As always, family, let’s do this together. Please get in touch if you have any thoughts or want to connect more about anything. Gosh I love you all!