or 5 Reasons to Stay Involved with Young People!
by Jim Grout, Executive Director, High 5 Adventure
I have long been proud of the fact that all of our program staff at High 5 still work with young people...yup, including me. I've been doing so for all of my entire career in adventure education which started in 1976. You see, you can't "graduate" out of working with young people at High 5, and that's no accident. There's a couple of reasons for that, none of which are the 5 mentioned in the subtitle above. Those 5 will come up later.
The biggest reason quite simply, is that young people keep you honest. You can't make things up and fool them because they see right through you and that's very humbling and good for the soul.
They also inform the work we do at every level. We can't be in the business of training teachers as adventure educators and be too far removed from the very people they are serving. Our adult trainings are strengthened by every youth program we conduct. As an education major in college, I could always determine very quickly which professors still had their feet in the world of the classroom from those that were living out the life of a professor shrouded in theory but lacking in reality. I pledged to myself then, I would never let that happen to me.
Last Spring I was presenting at a High 5 fundraising event and outlined the various audiences that we work with which include young people, adventure educators, police / military personnel, corporate audiences and professional athletes. I shared that in one 10 day period I worked with:
- a group of young people from 16 different countries,
a middle school faculty group,
a corporate executive team,
and, the Boston Bruins NHL hockey team.
Not only did the learnings and insights from all of those groups inform one another and strengthen the quality of each program but they strengthened my skills as a facilitator. Additionally, every non youth program we conduct is viewed as an opportunity to further our mission by connecting a corporation as a supporter of our work with youth This could be in the form of a company like C & S Wholesale Grocers of Keene, NH funding a local school program or the Boston Bruins providing a spokesperson and the support of the Bruins Foundation for scholarship aid for the Edge of Leadership.
As Executive Director I admittedly don't do the amount of trainings I used to do in my full time trainer days; but I will never stop entirely and I will always cherish the moments that are spent with young people.