Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you are connected to Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS).
Lisa: I joined a VOBS dog sledding course in late December 2018 with a main goal to learn how to dog sled. It was definitely one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, both mentally and physically, but I gained confidence and connections that will stay with me for a lifetime. Since then, I have been a supporter of VOBS.
I serve as General Counsel & Corporate Compliance Officer for Home Care Delivered, Inc. My husband and I moved to New Harmony, Utah during the pandemic in 2020.
Q: What was your most powerful experience during your VOBS course? What did you discover?
Lisa: My solo on night five was one of the coldest nights of the trip. I remember being “dropped off” at the site mid-day. I started out fine, but I went through the firewood too quickly before I could even make dinner. It got dark and the temps dropped fast. I couldn’t get warm. I hadn’t eaten. After 30 minutes I started to shiver, and as much as I wanted to finish my solo night, I knew I had to go back to camp.
When I returned to camp, I was disappointed and upset that I didn’t stay out on my own. I felt a little embarrassed too, knowing that my Outward Bound teammates were out there and doing just fine. Then, the competitive side of me kicked in and I became mad that I had quit. My instructors didn’t view me as a quitter though, they supported my decision to come back to camp. I realize now that making that hard decision to leave took courage. I have more confidence today in my gut and the decisions I make, especially in my work as in-house legal counsel.
Q: Tell us a way you’ve applied something you learned from your VOBS experience.
Lisa: When I present new-hire compliance training, I always mention my time in the Boundary Waters. I find it’s a great way to connect with new colleagues on a more personal level. I also believe in the Outward Bound philosophy and values, which overlap with my company’s purpose-driven mission.
One of my favorite quotes is from Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound:
There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.
I hope by sharing my VOBS experience I can inspire and motivate employees to strive for excellence for our customers and each other.
Q: In what way did your VOBS experience instill a sense of belonging?
Lisa: Homeplace in Ely, MN is the definition of belonging. Everyone at Homeplace made me feel like part of the family within minutes of arriving. We were all there for a common purpose and nothing else mattered. We were strangers but immediately felt connected to each other. Amazingly, that connection still exists three plus years later.
Q: What motivates you to support VOBS philanthropically?
Lisa: It feels good to support students of all ages who are pushing themselves, and learning teamwork and leadership. On course, they are developing confidence and character, appreciating nature and finding happiness that will impact them for the rest of their lives. I think about my VOBS experience every day and it helps me find that extra gear when I need it.
Q: Why should others consider increasing their support of VOBS?
Lisa: Donations provide more opportunities for middle, high school and college age students to experience an Outward Bound course before they enter the “real” world. Increasing your support is a way to ensure that VOBS can continue to reach more people who can benefit from an Outward Bound experience.
Thank you Lisa Wong for taking the time to speak with us and share how your VOBS experience impacted your life!