By Lane Brown, National Alumni Board chair
The National Alumni Board (NAB) of Adventure Unlimited held their annual retreat at the A/U Ranches, September 24-26. Thirteen out of 20 members gathered in person, and more attended virtually for committee planning sessions focused on serving alumni in the coming year.
The fall colors were just starting to make an appearance in the valley, with bright yellow aspens showing off through the pine forests on property, and some young elk were starting their annual migration toward the open pastures closer to town.
This was the first in-person retreat for the group since 2019, and there was a palpable sense of Love present among the members as we reconnected and shared updates. Those updates inevitably segued right into memories of Adventure Unlimited programs from years past. We are fortunate to have representatives on the board who have been part of Adventure Unlimited programs – from college stampedes to DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach events – during every decade since the 1960s.
That depth of experience made for fruitful discussions around what kind of programming and outreach will most enrich members of the alumni community, whether they are still involved with the programs or not.
What’s ahead for alumni
The board is continuing our efforts to include alumni who might feel out of the broad Adventure Unlimited network. We are aiming to ensure that “Welcome Home” is not only a sign at camp or a platitudinous greeting, but a genuine invitation to everyone who wants to take part in the healing atmosphere present at the A/U Ranches and in DB programs.
Alumni can expect to hear from us in the year ahead in a number of ways! The Mountaineering Reunion during Adult Mini Camp (August 22-28, 2022) will be a big focus for our team, in addition to engaging alumni from the DB National Leadership Council (NLC) program and supporting 100 Elk outreach efforts to alumni.
Our team will be reaching out to alumni through not only phone calls, emails and Zipline articles, but also in some new ways, including the new alumni podcast, “A Thousand Windows.”
We welcomed two new members to our board – Lisle Stigler and Nate Haase (read more about them in our Where Are They Now? section). We also bid farewell to two members as they headed out on new adventures. We wish both Val Anderson and Brooks Anderson (no relation) happy trails and offer our deepest gratitude for their thoughtful work to support this community.
Briefings from executive director Gina Lindquist-Bailey and other staff, in addition to our regular meetings throughout the year, help us gain a clear sense of current programs and steady improvements to both facilities and the staff who make all programs possible.
We were thrilled to have a tour of the A/U Ranches property from Steve Murray (A/U Ranches facilities director) and Alison Peticolas (Ranch director), who walked us through the new Hub administrative building currently under construction and the new tents north of Sky Valley near the Yurt campus. Steve also showed us forestry projects across the property; these are encouraging healthy forest ecosystems that develop strong plant variety and better resistance against fires.
We also enjoyed a team-building exercise led by 100 Elk director Brooke Morehardt, which provided a solid challenge for the group and pushed our teamwork skills to a new level. We learned more about the impact of 100 Elk programs in serving students and other organizations for a majority of the calendar year. 100 Elk programs also provide year-round job opportunities for many who serve as seasonal staff during the summer months at camp.
We are always thrilled to connect and plug our alumni into the community and programs we love. We look forward to reconnecting and engaging with alumni, and being responsive to their rising needs.
Thanks for all you do to support Adventure Unlimited.
Are you interested in helping the National Alumni Board with our efforts to connect alumni? We’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected] and let us know how you’d like to get involved.