Dear VOBS Friends,
Take a look at the picture above. That’s our staff on the deck of the Pieh up at Homeplace at last year’s All Staff Orientation (also known as “ASO,” and yes, some folks are indeed wearing pajamas– it’s a teambuilding thing).
I’m struck by the energy, hope and optimism on those faces, so much expectation as we headed into another busy summer season of changing lives.
The person behind the camera, getting everyone to smile and hold still, is on temporary furlough. The photographer isn’t in the picture, but she was orchestrating the shot. Today, almost 20 of our full-time staff “are not in the picture,” and are on furlough. We are keenly aware of this loss. We have important work to do, these folks are an integral part of VOBS and we want them back. Those of us on deck are doing our best, but our furloughed friends leave mouse boot-sized shoes to fill.
We may be kicking off ASO a bit later this year, thanks to COVID 19, but that doesn’t stop our indomitable spirit, our mission or our vision.
- We are guided by our values: compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and safety.
- We lean into our mission: to change lives through challenge and discovery.
- We continue to pursue our vision: more compassionate and resilient people for a more compassionate and resilient world.
Values. Mission. Vision.
These are the points of our compass rose, and they are true and immutable, just like VOBS.So, we may be weathering a bit of a storm right now, but we plan to thrive and I’m certain that we will. Why? Because of our Instructors. Plain and simple: Our Instructors, our field staff who are the experts in challenge and discovery, they are the heart of VOBS. Our Instructors embody compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and safety. Our Instructors (not the capital “I”– that’s on purpose), are committed to changing lives and they have been delivering on our mission since 1964.
When I look at the team assembled on the deck of the Pieh, I see the future, and I’m filled with conviction.
We will thrive, and we will keep changing lives.
An Outward Bound Instructor will tell you: “There is more in you than you know,” and they believe it. It is their business to believe in human potential and they are steadfast in this belief. We owe them the same level of conviction and we need to return their belief in us.
There is more in us than we know, and we can do this.
Let us thank the people that have made Voyageur Outward Bound possible for 56 years. Today I invite you to thank your course Instructors. We have a vibrant network of alumni–more than 100,000+ strong nationwide– and that means there is a lot of gratitude just waiting to be tapped, so here’s your opportunity.
Please click the link below to inspire others with your Outward Bound story, then take a moment to write a brief note of appreciation to your course Instructors. Names and dates come and go; don’t let that stop you from expressing your thanks. It’s the thought that counts.
These are uncertain days. We are all reaching out for connection. I urge you to pay it forward and thank some of the most compassionate and hard-working people on the planet. Here’s a heartfelt appreciation from recent alum, Kirsten Bunch:
“The entire expedition was powerful in many ways. Having to focus solely on the task in front of me was a powerful lesson in presence. There were no screens to pull my attention away from the task I was focused on. Almost everything we did on the trip was designed to collectively keep us safe and healthy and challenged. That presence was a true gift and not something I find in my normal life.
I found myself out there on that frozen lake. I found myself in the words of support and admiration of my teammates– Gail, Dagny, Beth, Karen and Carla. I found myself in the firm and loving leadership of our instructors– Emily and Justin. I found myself in the relentless commitment to moving forward with the eleven sled dogs that were part of our team. So, even though it wasn’t my intention, I ended up hitting that reset button myself.
To Emily and Justin: Thank you for taking such great care of us. For the participants, almost everything on an Outward Bound trip is unfamiliar and challenging. For the Instructors, well, you’ve been through it many, many times. Yet, you show up with compassion, patience, and empathy. For that, I give you my utmost gratitude and admiration.”
We will do our best to share your appreciations with our Team and this community in the coming weeks. You are needed.
Your support, in any form, makes Outward Bound possible.
Your gratitude inspires us to stay the course. Remember:
Today, we need you because tomorrow the world will need Outward Bound.
We know that the current crisis effects everyone in different ways. Not everyone can make a monetary gift, and we thank you for giving your inspiration and appreciation.
Thank you for your courage and compassion.
Together, we will thrive.
*Thanks to David Owen for his VOBS 50th reunion photos