In today’s world everything moves so quickly. I’m sure I don’t even have to explain, but of course I will. I am pretty sure most of us say on a continual basis…where did the day go? We need things instantly now a days and we have forgotten to slow down and remember how to ENJOY! We are stressed getting from one place to another. We can be angry drivers and in some large accounts we have forgotten to be considerate.
Many years ago I decided to personally slow my life down and thought that if I do “One great thing a day” then I have made a difference in my life and hopefully in someone’s life around me. We then become a “ripple in the water”. We have patients. We leave early to get to places on time and we make room to be kind to others. The “ripple” is the effect we have on others. That moment you make someone feel better they continue on to have a happier day and hopefully in return help someone else and hence we have created our own “ripple”.
I know I am not saying anything new and profound. It’s just a reminder that we literally effect the closest people to us. “Do one great thing a day” and watch the world around you change!
Where am I going with this? Just take a look at these kids faces in both our Idaho and Detroit camp and you will see what I mean. Coach Mandi, Rachel and Major Steve in Idaho creating that “ripple in the water”. Oh and the dance is priceless! Our former AH Camper turned AH Jr. Mentor coaching Major Steve.
Coach Jordan has done and incredible job building trust with our kids in Detroit! A few weeks ago Detroit SWAT came to visit the kids and showed our campers some of their gear plus helped some of them gain interest in a future career.
We also have great videos …..coming soon….of our campers explaining “why they make a good friend”.
This weekend March 19th we are able to give our Detroit campers a treat at the Cobo Center to explore at the “Discover the Dinosaurs” exhibit.
Thank you to all who contributed to make this a special day!
The last two weeks of our Detroit Camp has been really amazing. Our teens are not only having the time of their lives. They just can’t wait to get to camp. Coach Jordan has been an incredible mentor to our campers. We have six C’s, but two of them stand out the most which is Commitment all leading up to Character and that is what Coach Jordan has instilled.
Week 5 – Critical thinking – One of our campers father’s volunteered his time to teach a little about basic first aid. I’d say we have some future doctors.
Week Six – Character – The campers got to use the Outdoor Adventure Center’s archery facility. They learned the basic’s of how to carry themselves with great posture. (Pictures coming soon).
After lunch the campers experienced basic tent building for camping. None of these kids have ever gone camping before, so this was quite a treat for them. Thank you Garrett & Sierra Club for donating the tents for the day.
We are looking forward to the next six weeks of our session. Our goal for this six weeks: to put our campers to the test!
Thank you to all who have volunteered your time, food and efforts.
~Until next time….
Wrapping up 2015!
As we move quickly to another new year I want to express how grateful I am for the amazing group of people and kids who have continued to make ARROW-HEART a success. We are a mighty little company with the strength of 1,000 men. The Commitment and Communication (which is our first two C’s) has been nothing, but beyond my expectations.
Steve Fenske and our AH Nation in Idaho have done wonders for not only our teens, but the teens have given back to the community. Steve, you are a dream and have helped mold this organization and made it your own. To all our kids, may you strive to be heroes, lawyers, animal activists, veterinarians, police officers and more. Whatever you dream of you can do and we will always be here for you.
We as a team, hope to inspire our next AH Camps to be just as mighty! Welcome Detroit campers. We are excited to see where you take flight!
We are sure to have more camps opening this year as well. If these teens have inspired you to want to give back we can use all the help we can get! We thrive off donations and we can’t thank those enough who have continued to support “AH Nation”.
With Much Love and Respect,
Our June 11-14th camping trip to McCall was a success thanks to my Coaches, Mentors and Senior Mentors. They made my job a breeze. Our caravan to McCall on Thursdays afternoon took us the better part of two hours to reach Ponderosa Park. Our teens (Damia, Conor, Victoria and Tia) and their Senior Mentors (Christian, Wyatt and Drew) did a fantastic job of working together. The entire experience for our teens could not have flowed better.
Yolanda Robinson was given a nick name (Yo-licious) by the teens, after preparing the Thursday night meal with a hint of Southern hospitality (Baked chicken, Mac-n-cheese and Cornbread). After filling their stomach, the teens all went for a walk down to the Payette Lake to check out the Sunset, before heading for the Club to work out and swim. The rest of the evening was spent just sitting around the campfire listening to Native American music.
Friday morning after having a good night’s rest, I conducted a brief class on map and compass reading and identified the challenge for our hike up Boulder Mountain. Rachel and Mandy prepared breakfast (Pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, orange juice and fruit). Following breakfast, the teens were gathered around the campfire area and Rachel, Mandy, Joey and Yoli performed an ice breaker with a roll of toilet paper. You’ll have to check out the video for that one. We then circled our wagons and headed for Lower Boulder Lake Reservoir. The trek up the side of the mountain was calculated to be about 4.2 miles, give or take a few feet. The entire hike took about 2 hours to get to the plateau of Upped Boulder Lake. Well, the teens did a fine job of using the terrain feature on the map and their compasses to find their way to the top. We gathered at the top to enjoy lunch (MRE’s) and take a few pictures before heading back down the mountainside.
Upon returning to the condo, my staff then took the teens over to the indoor pool to put them through some swimming challenges. Joey and Conor played some racket ball afterwards. Rachel and Mandy prepared an Italian feast of Spaghetti, garlic bread and salad at the condo. Rachel, Mandy and Joey spent the night out at the camp with the teens and discovered that the temperatures do drop significantly in the evening hours, especially when their leader leaves the windows to the RV open all day. They had fun with glow sticks that night around the campfire before turning in.
Saturday morning after breakfast, the teens had some free time to do what they wanted to do, before heading to the North end of the Lake after lunch, to launch the canoes. The water out on the lake was a bit choppy, but all of the teens had life preservers and were with a mentor in each canoe. (Safety First)!! We all then retreated back to the campsite where we let the teens decide how they wanted to end their evening in McCall. The decision was made to return to the condo where they could use the Clubhouse and swimming pool. I prepared a BBQ for dinner out on the patio at the condo. The hamburgers and hot dogs were graciously donated by Ridley’s grocery store in Weiser. Mrs. Fenske prepared a strawberry whipped cream salad for us to take up and enjoy. She also bought graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate bars for us to make SMORES. We all had a relaxing evening, before turning in for the night.
Sunday morning came early for everyone. We prepared a lite breakfast and arranged to fix sandwiches at the Greenhouse upon our return to Weiser. My Coaches, Mentors, Senior Mentors and Volunteers did a great job of insuring the safety and protection of each and everyone one of our teens and for that I am very grateful!
Until next time….
Steve Fenske ‘The MAJOR”
I am taking a chance at writings Todd’s Trail. So, today we can call it Ari’s Trail.
I truly can not take the place of my brother Todd’s blogs, but I will do my best.
We are going into our third year of ARROW-HEART Adventure Camps and we are on our way to building up a fantastic new campsite and ropes course where our teens can get away from their day to day pressures and learn about the beauty and solitude of what it means to be part of the outdoors. We all love the comforts of home, no doubt about that. We love our technology, our amenities and our conveniences. However, once you can pull yourself outside the box, outside of your comfort zone, life becomes something different.
Our young campers got to experience that two weekends ago and find a great camaraderie between peers and coaches. Not only that, our campers were working hard to build their very own ropes course that they will be doing amazing one on one and team building exercises on. We are still working on our fundraiser of $1,500.00 to complete the purchase of our zip line and cargo net. Which you can see in the photos the campers have already been able to construct and attempt to climb. They were very proud!
When it comes to getting up and doing something that may feel uncomfortable these teens have outdone themselves. I am so proud and happy to see their progress. I’m a proud momma from afar. What more can I say except to continue to watch the hard work of our coaches and the dedication of our promising teens.
I hope you can help us meet our goal for the ropes course. Click below to help.
Everyone experiences some type of fear at one time or another in their lives. How we deal with that fear and how we learn from it can be two determining factors in the direction our lives ultimately take. For this reason, Arrow Heart Adventure Camps believes in challenging our campers to face their fears and learn how overcome them.
This month, we asked our team to face their fear of heights and work together to complete the high ropes course “Figure 8 Challenge”. Campers had to traverse a variety of challenging stages ranging from an unstable balance beam, to a hanging cargo net, to a myriad of difficult unsteady rope challenges suspended twenty feet above the floor. To add another degree of difficulty, the kids were bound by a bandana at the wrist, or ankle depending on each pair’s choice. Our campers had to utilize their critical thinking and communication skills in an effort work together in completing the course.
It is amazing how excitement and zeal, while on the ground, changed quickly to anxiety and doubt. Climbing ahead of the campers, so I could coach, encourage and assist (if necessary), I watched our kids begin to question themselves and their abilities. A teaching moment was presenting itself quickly, and in a bold way. We reminded them about previous lessons of perseverance and character and how quitting when times get difficult makes for a poor life-path. The responses to how they handled the situation varied, but the result was the same; the campers quelled their uncertainty and worked together to overcome the selected challenges.
There was a wide array of ways in which the campers traversed the ropes course. From one who was flying around like he had been born into the Wallenda family, to two others who were experiencing a paralyzing terror over being so high above the ground. In both extremes, we had the fortune to witness amazing growth.
Our ‘free-flyer’ was teamed with a camper who made a valiant effort to move from station to station, but finally succumbed to his dread and did not want to leave the transfer platforms he had reached. After a while, we allowed the two young men to untie themselves so we could coach our troubled camper through his fear. As we were doing so, our free-flyer went back around the course offering encouragement and advice to his teammates. If you understood this camper’s background, you would appreciate what a powerful moment this was for him to focus on helping others and less about what he was doing for himself. I was extremely proud of him.
Meanwhile, the two campers who were having difficulties battling their fear; finding it impossible to muster up the fortitude to continue on, required reassurance and coaching. It became a challenging period of time for both coaches and campers. Fortunately, using a combination of the 6 C’s of Leadership led to the successful completion of the course by both young men. The compassion by the rest of the team to support their fellow campers while they were completing the obstacles touched all of our hearts.
As we reflected on the day during lunch, all of the campers expressed their feelings of exasperation while on the ropes course, but they experienced a greater sense of inner-pride for completing such a challenging event. They also continued to show tremendous growth in improving their character, commitment, communication, critical thinking, credibility and compassion skills. All six elements were boldly displayed throughout the day. All-in-all, the campers and coaches of Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps had an amazing time.
Until next month…Happy Trails,
Have you ever watched the television show, ‘American Ninja Warrior’? It is a competition that pits athletes against one another by running them through a multitude of challenges requiring strength, balance and speed. To be successful, one must display tremendous physical power and endurance; as well as, great mental fortitude. The ability to control and contort one’s body in an effort to complete the various stations leaves most spectators with a sense of amazement over the way these athletes prepare their body and mind for working through such an arduous endeavor. It is for this reason we chose to begin this camping season by running our fourteen intrepid campers through a small version of the American Ninja course.
Working with our friends at the indoor ropes and fitness center at Bodies in Motion in Boise, ID, we made some modifications to the rules of the game based on the age and lack of proper training of our campers. We divided the group into two teams of seven and explained to them that the object was to get each team member to complete every task. If it took the entire team to help them finish the obstacle, then so be it.
From the Devil Steps, to the Unstable Bridge, to the Climbing Wall and beyond, our campers attempted each task on their own and then worked with teammates to fully complete the event. The kids pushed themselves physically until they were unable to finish on their own. The teams then worked on their critical thinking and communication skills to coordinate the best way to help their teammates. The ingenuity displayed by our campers as they labored to help one another was impressive. In the end, every camper had fully completed the course and the exhaustion they exhibited showed how hard they had toiled. In the end, they displayed great Character, were Committed to the completion of their mission, Communicated well with one another, used Critical Thinking to solve problems, built Credibility with one another and showed Compassion for their fellow camper, no matter if they were on their team, or the other. The 6 C’s of Leadership were well represented on this day.
In all, the first event of the season was a resounding success for our campers and coaches. They are extremely excited to get on the high ropes course in December. Before that, we will be performing a service project and sharing a Thanksgiving meal on November 22nd. Until then,
Summer. The kids are out of school and families are planning trips and making time to spend with one another. It is the perfect excuse for being outdoors. All across America families engage in a multitude of ways to enjoy the natural beauties we are so fortunate to be afforded. Whether it is patrolling a mountain stream for trout, rafting down a raging river, climbing treacherous rocks, kayaking in a calm bay, or just sitting around a warm campfire roasting marshmallows with family and friends, people are thousands of Americans take advantage of the energizing properties of the Great Outdoors.
Unfortunately, there are far too many American children who rarely, or have never experienced the wonders of the natural world. They have never had the opportunity to spend quality time with a parent, or mentor learning how to build a campfire, tie a lure, load a pack, or prepare a meal for their group. They have missed out in the joy of hiking to a secluded lake and setting up a campsite while they impatiently eye calm water filled with trout that have waited all winter for their lure to hit the water. Most importantly, they have missed out on the valuable life lessons spending time in the outdoors can provide.
At Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps, we attempt to fill that void for our campers. This past year several at-risk teens had a chance to come together and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others they touched. They overcame fears on a high-ropes course, rescued team members from a mountain accident (staged), build boats out of cardboard to race in, pummeled one another (and their coaches) with paintballs and participated in a variety of other activities, all while building their character and leadership skills. They also performed service to their community and learned the tremendous value they offer to those in need. Our campers experienced valuable personal growth in the ten months we spent together.
It is now time for a new team of campers and the recruiting process has begun. It is only a few short weeks before the first camping excursion will take place, so we are poring through applications. This season we are focusing on 7th and 8th graders due to the feedback we have received from previous campers who unanimously agreed they wish they had started Arrow-Heart in middle school. They felt they would have avoided many of the choices that put them on a more difficult path.
As always, our campers are fully funded through the generosity of our donors. Ken Corday, of Corday Productions, has been our biggest and most ardent benefactor. We greatly appreciate his generosity and the kindness of all those who have contributed to Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps. You may never know the true impact of your efforts, but they are making a difference. If you would like to make a difference in a young person’s life, please see the details on how you can donate on our website. We are currently working on building our first permanent site and need to purchase equipment for our high ropes course, paintball course; as well as, river, camping and climbing equipment. Your gift may also be used toward our Midvale, ID camp.
It is time, once again, to hit the trail. Until next month, may we all experience the joy of making someone else’s life just a little bit better.
It is truly amazing how fast the past year has gone. It seems like only yesterday that we were putting the plans together for this year’s team of campers. From the planning stages to the pouring over of applications, to interviewing potential campers, all the way to the first day of camp, the Arrow-Heart team worked diligently to facilitate and foster positive changes in the young adults we had the privilege to work with.
Our first adventure began on a ropes course, which was the catalyst for learning the 6 C’s of Leadership; Character, Commitment, Communication, Critical Thinking, Credibility and Compassion. The campers and the coaches had an opportunity to experience all six at one moment or another during the outing. It truly set the stage for productive and positive adventures for the remainder of the camping season.
Throughout the year, we went through many adventures together as a team. From high ropes courses to raft-building and rowing to rock-wall climbing to simulated mountain rescue missions and even a little ghost-hunting; Arrow-Heart campers were continually challenged to push themselves to their physical and mental limits. We then gave our campers the opportunity to help others through community service. They performed tasks from community clean-up to repainting signs for the recycling center to acting as elves during Christmas time for underprivileged kids.
During our time together, we all learned a lot about our team and ourselves. We each found areas in our lives that were keeping us from reaching our true potential as life-long learners and self-leaders. The campers learned that, although they came from different backgrounds, experiences and family structures, they all shared common issues and together, they could help one another along with the guidance and mentoring of our coaching staff. Over time, the campers began to trust in one another and their coaches. Ultimately, the foundation of a family atmosphere was forged.
As coaches, we strengthened our conviction that you can never have enough patience and you can never offer enough encouragement and support. We also continued to verify the belief that as long as a person is trying, they are succeeding. Whether it is climbing to a higher rung on a ropes ladder than they previously could due to their fear of heights, or getting in a pool with their team, even though they are not strong swimmers, our campers took steps to overcome their fears which, ultimately, aided them in their continued character growth.
As with any family there were ups and downs during the course of the year. Not every camper was fully ready to embrace the changes they needed to make in order for them to reach new levels of personal success. There were times where one may have regressed, but their team rallied to pick them up and help them through the difficulties life was presenting. They also discovered that a person can never run from the problems which have plagued them, or the choices they have made. They learned that they all possess the mental and physical fortitude to overcome many of the obstacles they face. They also knew they have mentors who are there for them when times are difficult. Whether by meeting, a phone call, texting or social media, Arrow-Heart campers have constant access to their coaches and we welcome them using this resource.
Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps sets out every year to provide an avenue of growth and success for the individuals who participate in our camps. By using data such as scholastic improvement, dramatically lower incidents in school discipline entries and improved attendance data; along with positive reports for campers who have been involved with juvenile probation; the results show it has been a successful year for AHAC and I am extremely proud of our kids, our coaches and our volunteers. They all worked hard to make 2013-2014 a special year. I look forward to the 2014-2015 Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps campaign beginning in September.
The Adventures Continue!