By Lara Shisler, National Alumni Board
In reflecting on the wonderful weekend I spent at the 60th Reunion, I can’t help thinking about how my connection to Adventure Unlimited has changed over the last decade. Ten years ago I decided to attend the 50th Reunion after a long period of disconnection with the organization. It had been 15 years since my last summer working at the A/U Ranches, and I hadn’t attended an event there since. I can’t even say why, besides absorption in things like my career and family life, and living far away from the Colorado Rockies.
Being at the A/U Ranches again after all those years – seeing so many dear friends and reminiscing about old times – brought Adventure Unlimited to the forefront of my mind again. It was a reminder of how my experiences at the A/U Ranches, spanning the ages of 11 through 22, influenced my life and set me on a path that would have been very different otherwise.
I know that, through my involvement in Adventure Unlimited programs, I became more confident, learned key leadership skills and overcame perceived gender boundaries. I went home each summer (and after each A/U Chapter activity) feeling accepted and loved for who I was. But most importantly, I learned about the practical applicability of Christian Science and was better able to “take it home” and use it in my day-to-day life, which has never included a lot of fellow Christian Scientists.
Since the 50th reunion, my reengagement with the organization and programs has done nothing but bless. Our family attended a few Family Camp sessions, introducing spouses to the application of Christian Science at the A/U Ranches (not to mention the awesome good time to be had!). The next generation in the family has been attending Youth Camp, and I’ve been able to find time to volunteer as a bunkhouse parent and on the National Alumni Board (NAB). I’m finding yet again, as it did in my youth, that my involvement in these activities is directly influencing my own spiritual growth.
Continuing the Adventure
I so enjoyed the 60th Reunion, and once again was reminded of the deep love I have for Adventure Unlimited. I know that, whether or not you attended, we all hold this organization dear to our hearts and have many significant and life-changing experiences from our involvement in its programs. The alumni are not just a part of its history, but are the foundation of its future.
Adventure Unlimited values its alumni and wants to stay connected with us. How can we do that? Here are a few ideas:
- Metaphysically support the organization.
- Participate in programs. There are so many fun options for adults, including Mini Camp, Family Camp, Christmas Camp and local DiscoveryBound Outreach events.
- Volunteer in your community as a DiscoveryBound Outreach chapter worker, chaperone, or ambassador. You can also volunteer at the A/U Ranches as a bunkhouse parent, attend the Memorial Day cleanup, or consider serving on the National Alumni Board.
- Tell the Adventure Unlimited story and your own. There are a few different venues for this, including social media, at AdventureUnlimited.org, and this Zipline publication, not to mention your own church community. Sharing your story may be the key to getting another kid to camp.
- Support Adventure Unlimited with your gift. There are many ways to do this; you can learn about them at AdventureUnlimited.org.
Finally, a quick note about the National Alumni Board. That arm of the organization is here for us, the alumni. Building on a successful 60th Reunion, the NAB is setting goals for how we can continue to support the organization and its alumni. One key area of focus will be enrollment and the exciting changes in summer programming you will be seeing in 2016. This new structure will provide even more options for youth, families and adults to enjoy all the activities that the A/U Ranches have to offer. Another key area, based on feedback from so many of you who loved your 60th Reunion weekend, will be planning mini-reunions (with your help!) for specific programs or decades as part of Adult Mini-Camp over the coming years.
I’m already looking forward to my next chance to visit the A/U Ranches and participate in a program. I hope many of you are as well; maybe we’ll see each other there. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your own ideas or suggestions for how the organization can better support its alumni (and vice versa) via [email protected].