Westwood Woods

By Dave Hanna

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The outdoors has always been magical to me. Alive, transformative, peaceful and restorative. It is the place I feel closest to its Creator, because everywhere I look I see the finger of God.

Each plant contains everything it needs to know so it can grow, stretch toward the sun, hibernate for the winter and return in the spring to continue its life. As I see each leaf, branch and trunk reaching to where it can receive the sun, I’m reminded of how I always need to seek the Son if I want to grow, mature and live a vibrant life. Nature is full of these analogies for me.

I have spent many hours of my life simply ambling outside, sometimes on a trail to a desired destination like the top of Algonquin Peak, yet sometimes with no objective other than to be there and simply experience whatever my senses can capture. It could be tasting fresh water, like from the Raquette River in Adirondack Park, or feeling the awesome power of wind so fierce on Mt. Washington that I braced for balance to keep from getting blown over, or the smell of pine on the trail in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, or the majestic sight of endless, rugged snow-capped peaks in Meribel, France, or the melting heat of the desert air in Joshua Tree National Monument, or the solitary sound of the rushing waters of the Mississiquoi River in Vermont that echoed through an otherwise silent, moonlit night. Every sense is on alert in the outdoors to experience what we so often miss or underappreciate in our busy, task-filled lives.

I wondered where this love affair began. The earliest memory I have is of my Grandparents’ house in Westwood, PA. Maybe their yard was an acre, but by my measuring stick it was a county. There was a trickle of spring water that ran down through the open yard. It was only a few inches wide and ran through a man-made ditch as it seeped its way towards the creek (or “cric” in local speak) at the rear of the property. To a 10-year old this was a watershed, not a ditch. It housed snakes, frogs and bugs and often swallowed stray baseballs or golf balls.

The creek was an even bigger treasure trove. In its deeper, wider waters were turtles, fish and muskrats. There was a special spot where the creek widened and slowed and the waters deepened. A large, old tree draped its trunk over the pool before rising high into the sky, as if to say, “hey, come and play here”. And so I did. For hours. Making dams, splashing in big boots across the creek and into the swampy woods or climbing the hill to the pond at the mushroom company next door.

This is where I first lost myself in the mysteries and joys of nature. What is even more reminiscent of the Westwood woods is that my father spent hours in that same special place when he was a boy, probably standing on that same tree by the pool, or a thinner version of it anyway.

Maybe that’s where it all started. I think so, but what is more important is that this romance never ends. It will endure on this earth as long as I am blessed to be healthy enough to venture out and it will flourish even more in the new heavens and the new earth. Oh, what that will be like! I would write some more, but I’m going for a hike in the Mt. Kearsarge State Forest.

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Lessons Learned From The Adirondack Leadership Program

By Charlotte Charek, 2016 ALP Participant

I’m not much of an outdoorsy individual. I’m far more likely to “camp” next to a woodstove with a good book. However, going on the Adirondack Leadership Program was one of the best decisions I’ve made, as there are so many things to learn from the experience. The trip is taken with a small group, so that by the end they are like a second family. The hiking and camping can be difficult, but over time you learn teamwork, resilience, resourcefulness, and how to step up and be a leader when needed. You learn how to trust in others, and you learn to trust in God.

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During my particular trip, we had a few instances in which we felt like giving up and going home. At one point, we got turned around in a forest, surrounded by mud and swamplands, with no idea what to do next. I remember it being miserable for about five minutes before we all realized that we were fools. We prayed for God’s guidance, and with renewed strength we persevered and He led us right out of there to a beautiful lake. I imagine He was thinking, “Well, it’s about time…” From this experience, we learned how to “take a leap of faith,” which was actually our motto for the trip. We learned that in life, there are going to be some hard times, but you have to learn to trust that God has a plan for you, that He will catch you when you fall. It’s such an important lesson, and one that I know I’m going to carry close all my life.

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Another thing that’s really nice about this program is that there’s no technology allowed. With so much of our lives being occupied with phones, computers, and televisions, it’s easy to get lost amidst the buzz. Because of this, my generation tends to get distracted from what really matters. I have to say, when I got my phone back after the trip, I almost wanted to tell my leaders to keep it! Out in the woods, you get to know your group and yourself on a deeper level; the communication and thoughts are allowed to flow uninterrupted without the ring of a phone or the background noise of television. I found myself reaching out and expressing myself to God more, now that I wasn’t constantly looking at a screen.  It’s a nice reminder that God really deserves our full attention, and that sometimes to hear Him we need a little quiet.

I’m so grateful to everyone involved with this program, as it was most definitely a life-changing experience.

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The Adirondack Leadership Program is an exciting opportunity for 15-18 year olds. ALP takes place in the Adirondack’s of New York where groups of 6-10 students are led by our staff on a backpacking or canoeing itinerary. It’s the perfect environment for challenge, personal growth, and community.

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 season! Apply today!

New Trail Running Race in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Running has always been a huge hobby of Adirondack Director Nate Hausman, so whenever a staff member catches the running bug, especially as a result of time spent doing the La Vida run or traversing the many ADK trails, he gets super excited. Nathan Landis, long-time ADK staff member, has taken this to a whole new level though by proposing to start his own ultra trail race. Keep reading to hear more about Nathan’s dreams for this race in New Zealand. 

By: Nathan Landis

I’m just now getting back to running after injuring my IT band over the summer, so it has been a long few months. While injured, I was searching for ways to stay connected to running but not in a way that made me dwell on not being able to run. The idea of a trail race in Kaikoura had been on my mind last spring but the past few months it really started to gain some more traction.

Starting about six weeks ago, I mapped out a course aimed at taking in the very best sights and trails Kaikoura can offer. It’s ending up to be about 68km (42 miles). I’ve been meeting with local business owners and town officials for the past few weeks to hear their feedback on the event proposal, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone I’ve talked to has said that the race would be a fantastic idea and a great boost for the town.

I’m really hoping that the race can not only benefit the local community, but that it can also hopefully help runners and their families view life in a new way. Working for La Vida taught me the importance of doing things with purpose and that is definitely influencing how I’m approaching this opportunity. As I’ve been coming back from an injury myself, a word I’ve been thinking about lately is relentless–the idea of coming back to running stronger than I was before and not letting disappointments distract me from the goals I’ve set for myself. With that in mind, I’ve hit upon the tagline Live Relentlessly for the race. It not only describes the topography of the course (there are hardly more than two miles that ever stay the same!) but also a mindset I hope runners take away from their race experience.

The next step is to get official permits and consent from local government and environmental bodies to hold the race. Once those are in hand I’ll be starting to contact larger companies in search of event sponsorship. I’m also planning to start a Kickstarter campaign in a week or two where folks can donate to help cover website & promotional material costs. If all goes well, registration should open in April!

If anyone is interested in contacting me or hearing more they can do that at nathan@kaikouraultratrail.com.

Below is an aerial map of the course, two photos from the trail itself and a photo of me scouting the trail.

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Nathan Landis ’15 devoted four summers serving on the ADK staff. He was a Sherpa and more recently the Property Maintenance Manager. He was also a LEAP intern in the La Vida Center his senior year at Gordon. He is now the Community Coordinator at Creation Care Study Program in New Zealand. 

La Vida Goes to China

By: Nate Hausman
Photos By: Amber and Nate Hausman

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, striving to “be here now” and focusing on choosing our challenges wisely are mantras that La Vida sherpas continually share while leading expeditions. For Amber and Nate Hausman, not only did they recently have the opportunity to live out some of these La Vida sayings, but they also got to share the La Vida trip experience in China with 17 international school students. The trip was a year in the making and consisted of countless email exchanges, numerous Skype conversations and a lot of trust that it would all come together in the end.

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After gear and food pack out, this group is ready to head into the woods!

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Heading to the first campsite!

To bring the trip to fruition, they partnered with Concordia International School of Shanghai, Journey Wilderness Adventures (JWA) and a Beijing-based company called The Hutong. The Hutong provides educational experiences for students that are a unique blend of cultural immersion and experiential outdoor education. They provided the logistical support needed for this trip by preparing a route, organizing transportation and guiding us through the wilderness.

The seven-day trip first became an idea in 2015 after Gordon’s Vice President of Student Life Jennifer Jukanovich made a connection with a staff member at Concordia who oversees all their off-campus experiences. What started as a question of whether or not La Vida could provide an international experience soon became a reality. Rich Obenschain and Nate then had the opportunity to meet with Chris Qualls of JWA who was visiting the Gordon area and heard about La Vida from a former student of his in China. One connection led to another and soon the nuts and bolts of the trip were coming together.

What a view at our cooking spot!

Chefs in the making. Lots of delicious meals were cooked on this trip!

Lots of lessons on the first day: LNT, tent set-up, cooking and cleaning, and the fun broadcasting after brushing teeth!

Many technical lessons on the first day: LNT, tent set-up, cooking and cleaning, and the fun broadcasting after brushing teeth!

It was quickly apparent to Nate and Amber that this experience would be a unique one as soon as they landed in China’s capital. Surrounded by a sea of individuals all speaking foreign languages and being shuffled through long lines at the customs checkpoint, Nate and Amber were thrilled to stretch their legs after 14 hours in a plane. The first few days of their trip were filled with not only tourist activity, but also with final trip preparations. A visit to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Hutong district in downtown Beijing were all highlights from those first few days. In addition to seeing some of the sites though, Nate and Amber all focused their attention on purchasing final food items and packing not only those items, but also food they needed to bring from the United States (who knew it was so tough to get M&Ms in China?)

A key component to La Vida is implementing Leaders of the Day (LOD's). All of the LOD's did such an amazing job at fulfilling this role.

A key component to La Vida is implementing Leaders of the Day (LOD’s). All of the LOD’s did such an amazing job at fulfilling this role.

The students had fun learning about LNT by acting out the seven principles for their peers. They are acting out "Be Considerate of Other Visitors".

The students had fun learning about LNT by acting out the seven principles for their peers. Here they are acting out “Be Considerate of Other Visitors”.

Our first full day of hiking involved A LOT of stairs.

The first full day of hiking involved A LOT of stairs.

Day one of the trip quickly arrived, and with that the leadership team headed to the airport to pick up the 17 students and two teachers from Concordia. Concordia has students from all over the world, so they have a strong focus on building community within the high school. Every year the students are a part of a different “TrIBES” (Transforming Individuals By Education and Service) group which is a weeklong educational travel experience. TrIBES seeks to develop communication, leadership skills, self-reliance and compassion. After a two-hour bus ride into the hills located outside of Beijing, gear, food and personal equipment was all distributed and the group of 23 headed to their first campsite. The group meandered their way through the wilderness and as often happens on La Vida trips, started to develop their own inside jokes, tight bonds over long days of hiking and friendships that would last for years after their experience in the woods.

This group was not afraid to lend a helping hand which was needed our third day of the trip. The group really pulled together and showed care and support.

This group was not afraid to lend a helping hand which was often needed throughout the trip. The group really pulled together and showed care and support to one another.

At this point in the trail, we had to hand our bags down one by one because it was pretty steep.

At this point in the trail, it was very steep so the group had to hand their bags down one by one and then climb down.

The views we encountered on the trail were quite magnificent.

The views encountered on the trail were quite magnificent.

The trip was a great experience overall for everyone involved. Nate and Amber left feeling positive that the spiritual curriculum they prepared reached the students well and opened the door for them to begin exploring their faith more. Topics of discussion were based on community development, cultivating your faith personally, learning to be present and not worrying about the future. During an end-of-trip debrief session, all six of the leaders commented on how much work went into the planning and preparation of this trip, but how incredibly evident that planning was in how well the trip was implemented. Many students commented on how they have become more aware of the role of technology in their lives and how they need to find balance with its use, but also came to realize that time with friends and family is something to be treasured, and not disrupted by the buzzing of cell phones.

The students made their group covenant under the stars and had great ideas on how to bring the community they've experienced on the trip back to their school.

The students made their group covenant under the stars and had great ideas on how to bring the community they experienced on the trip back to their school.

Students spent a morning and afternoon on a solo and reflected on their faith, friendships, and family.

Students spent a morning and afternoon on a solo and reflected on their faith, friendships, and family.

The last day of the trip we hiked along the river bed soaking up as much as we could before it was over.

The last day of the trip the group hiked along the river bed soaking up as much as they could before it was over.

Hiking and outdoor recreation is a new pasttime for China. There seems to be a lot of potential for climbing and bouldering.

Hiking and outdoor recreation is a relatively new leisure activity for China. There seems to be a lot of potential for climbing and bouldering.

Our time ended by sharing a meal at a guesthouse where they served us local Chinese cuisine. Yum!!!

The trip ended by sharing a meal at a guesthouse where they were served local Chinese cuisine. Yum!!!

Now that the trip has wrapped up and everyone is back home again, Nate and Amber have been able to share with numerous friends, family and co-workers about how God truly did provide for them during this entire experience. It is apparent that you don’t need to be located in the Adirondacks to experience the power of La Vida. The lessons you gain from spending time in the wilderness are universal and something that cross international borders. Although future plans for another trip to China are not confirmed yet, there is hope this was not the last international La Vida trip.

Nate and Amber are so grateful to have had the chance to serve Concordia students and to partner with their teachers and The Hutong in providing this unforgettable experience.

Nate and Amber are so grateful to have had the chance to serve Concordia students and to partner with their teachers and The Hutong in providing this unforgettable experience.

 

Creation, Community, and Facing Your Fears- What These Students Learned on Their La Vida Expedition

Written By: Jonathan Chandra, Carter Reynolds, Hannah Fleth, and Rosalind Keeley
Compiled By: Amber Hausman

This past May La Vida Expedition was the first of many life-changing trips that will happen this summer. I’m continually blown away at how God uses the wilderness to shape our faith and who we are. As the groups returned from their 12 and 13 day trips, it was evident that “Canoe 1” had formed a strong bond during their journey. I asked the group if they would share some thoughts that I could then share with incoming students to get them excited about their trips this summer. Please read on to see what they had to say.  We can’t wait to see you at the Base Camp this summer! ~Amber

Meet Canoe 1

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[Creation]

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.”
-Psalm 19:1-2

One of the many lessons from La Vida that will stick with me for the rest of my life is that God is overwhelmingly present in nature. “The heavens declare the glory of God;” the Psalmist says, “the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” On my expedition, this was true every day. God made Himself known through blue skies, through sunrises and sunsets, and even in soft grey clouds before light rain. Then again, God was manifest everywhere during La Vida. He was present in gently swaying trees, by flickering campfires, and over the waters.

This brings me to another lesson I’ve learned and will forever take to heart: God is overwhelmingly present in Christian community. By the grace of God, our patrol—a motley crew of individuals who hardly knew each other at the beginning of the trip—came together as a family by the time our journey had ended. With praise, prayer, and shared faith, we persevered through challenges in the unfamiliar wilderness and were bound tightly together in the process. God blessed me strikingly through my group, and I was able to enjoy the experience all the more because of it. God was there with us through it all, from when we rested under gentle trees, to when we shared our lives over flickering campfires, to when we laughed and labored in our canoes over lakes and rivers.

There is something about spending two weeks in the wilderness with a group of strangers, away from the obligations and distractions of normal life, that is deeply spiritual. As you embark on your La Vida trip, I pray (and know!) that God will be present with you in nature, and with the people you are surrounded by. You’re in for something special.   ~God Bless, Jonathan

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[Community]

La Vida taught me a lot, but the most important thing I came away with was verification in the unmatched beauty of Christian community. With an extremely diverse band of 12 randomly chosen Jesus followers, all in different places in their walks of faith, we brought the best out in each other through the peaks and inevitable occasional valleys you will face on a challenging outdoor excursion. One thing that La Vida emphasized which made a huge difference in establishing such genuine, family type bonds, was the concept of “Be Here Now,” leaving all of life’s technological distractions behind for the 13 day journey.

After La Vida, my view of community is rooted in one word: intentionality. Without the typical everyday 21st century distractions of life, an intentional community naturally brings out the best, and worst, in each other, allowing for incredible growth. When you put Christ at the center of that, it amplifies the results astronomically. Being able to say that I saw this happen, by God’s grace, and watched lives be forever impacted by this one trip, is a totally divine gift. I’m humbled, and very thankful for my experience leading a trip for La Vida, and pray that this ministry is continued to be used by God to change lives.  ~Carter ReynoldsIMG_3084

[Facing Your Fears]

Fear always seems to follow me. Every since I was a kid, fear and anxiety would hinder me from living with confidence. So, as I began my La Vida experience, I was not surprised to find fear not far behind. I woke up the first morning with a sore back and a stuffy nose. I immediately began to worry that my body would not be able to withstand the strenuous trip. I imagined myself being driven back to base camp halfway through the trip in humiliation and failure because I’d come down with a fever and couldn’t continue. These anxieties caused me, as they had always done, to pull inward until I could console myself by coming up with a solution on my own.

Thankfully, I wasn’t allowed this “luxury”. My Sherpas sat down with us that same morning and asked us to share how we were feeling, our hopes and fears for the trip. I voiced my fears, which freed them from continually swirling around in my mind, and turned my thoughts to what I wanted from this trip. I wanted to become more fearless. Coming out of finals week, I was tired of being overwhelmed by anxiety and had asked those from home covering my trip in prayer to pray I would become just that: fearless. Despite my faithlessness in giving way to fear the very first day, God remained faithful and answered my prayer. Not only did my cold and back pain go away in the first few days, but I learned how to start living free from fear.

In our physical activities and daily devotions, we discussed how to redefine success so that it’s not about succeeding as much as it is giving everything your best, even if you’re unsure you’ll succeed, and being proud that you tried. As I read more about this and put it into practice while rock climbing and portaging, I experienced a freedom that not only dispelled my spirit of fear but also made me excited to pursue more challenges. I left La Vida desiring to act on my dreams for deeper relationships. I was now unafraid of making mistakes and could reach out to my friends without second guessing my every move. I challenge those approaching a season of testing, whether that is La Vida or some other life experience, to be honest with someone when they ask you about your fears. Bring those fears honestly before God, and be open to lessons that come your way. I learned to embrace the freedom to fail and now I no longer see life as a test, but as a learning process. ~Hannah FlethBlog Template 3

[God of Wonders]

When we finally reached the end of our 12-day journey, we came back together at base camp along with the other canoeing and hiking patrols. One of the songs we sang during the celebration was called “God of Wonders”. I was really moved by this song and the lyrics because it is very valid; our God is indeed a “God of Wonders”.

The best things about the trip that I really enjoyed were the life stories. After we had listened to them, and asked the person funny and interesting questions, we all grew so much closer. I learned from this experience that only the God of Wonders could have brought our group together from across all parts of the world and placed us with the people that would help us grow spiritually and in a personal way. I saw growth in everyone throughout the trip and I saw how in just a short amount of time how the Holy Spirit was present every day we were on the water. Our group covenant (Ephesians 4:2-3) was definitely achieved and maintained during our 12 days as a community. Personally, I learned how to trust in God and find joy in the little things, but as a group, we learned a new kind of love, community, hope and how to challenge each other. Without our God of wonders we wouldn’t have been challenged by choice or placed in the group in which we were placed, and I am so thankful for every minute I got to share with and learn from my C1 family! ~ Rosalind KeeleyIMG_3116

Photos By: Carter Reynolds

La Vida Serves at the Open Door

Gordon College recently received 462 financial gifts from the Giving Tuesday campaign. As an incentive for giving, Gordon matched these gifts with 462 hours of service to the local community. Nate and Amber have been serving at the Open Door in Gloucester for the past few years so they were excited to get the rest of the La Vida office involved to contribute toward the service hours.

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The Open Door offers a variety of services to the communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, Manchester, and Essex. The Food Pantry is a mini grocery store that provides free, three-five day supplies of emergency groceries each week for qualified residents. They also serve community meals five times a week that are sponsored by church, civic, and school groups around Cape Ann. Additionally, they have the Second Glance Thrift Store which provides reduced-cost items. All proceeds from the thrift store sales support the Open Door’s hunger-relief programs.

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The La Vida crew worked together to prepare a delicious quiche (Rich’s favorite), sauteed spinach, garlic toast and chocolate cookies and ice cream. The industrial size kitchen was no stranger to those of us who have worked at the Base Camp. The Open Door serves anywhere from 20-60 people at the community meals and we served about 40 that evening.

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If you are interested in volunteering for the Open Door, you can visit them online here.

From Gordon College to Ghana: Serving for the U.S. Peace Corps

By: Roland Griggs, Gordon ’15

This past October, I found myself stepping off a plane into a new world and a new stage of my life. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree in biology at Gordon followed by a summer in the Adirondacks leading trips for La Vida when I arrived in Ghana to begin serving as an agriculture volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps. For those unfamiliar with the Peace Corps, it is a government organization that sends volunteers to live among people of developing countries all over the world. Its mission is to promote world peace and friendship by providing developing nations with men and women trained to meet the needs of people in host countries and to stimulate mutual understanding between Americans and host country nationals. I work primarily with farmers by demonstrating improved farming techniques and training farmers to use such techniques. My work in the Peace Corps has thus far given me the opportunity to apply lessons learned in La Vida to new contexts outside La Vida, and I recognized many similarities between Ghanaian culture and La Vida culture in the process.

Upon arriving in Ghana, I realized Ghanaians live at a cultural crossroads. In many ways, life for modern Ghanaians, especially those located in rural villages, remains similar to that of their ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago. People live in buildings made of mud, they farm small plots of land using the same farming techniques as their forefathers, animals roam freely throughout the village, and the local governing bodies still consist of tribal chiefs and elders. In other ways, however, life in Ghana has changed drastically. Many people own cellular phones, modern roads and vehicles make various kinds of goods more accessible to rural communities than ever before, and power lines now reach majority of the country.

Roland with the Ghanaian family he stayed with during training, the first two months in Ghana.

With the Ghanaian family I stayed with during training, the first two months in Ghana.

Despite these recent changes in the country, one feature of Ghanaian culture that remains ingrained in society and also reminds me of La Vida culture is that of time perception. At La Vida, we strive to reduce people’s anxiety and foster community by encouraging people to live in the present. But in Ghana, no one needs to be told, “Be here now.” People always live in the present. They spend much of their time talking with others as they do chores or lounge under shade trees, and they rarely look at a clock. Ghanaians’ lack of time management is actually a serious problem from a development worker’s perspective, because teachers and students don’t arrive at school on time (if at all), and it’s nearly impossible to schedule events that have fixed start times. Nevertheless, Ghanaians rarely worry about schedules and timeliness, and they build some of the most cohesive communities I have ever seen.

The simple lifestyles in Ghana also remind me of La Vida. For example, my village has no running water, so we have to fetch water regularly and carry it to our houses to cook, clean, and bathe. Most people don’t own a bed, so they sleep on mats on the floor. And although my town does have electricity, power outages occur regularly; consequently, flashlights are essential tools for evening activities. All these attributes of Ghanaian life resemble attributes of La Vida excursions, and I feel La Vida prepared me well for living in Ghana.

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Fetching water from the local borehole and bringing it back to the house.

In addition to seeing similarities between La Vida culture and Ghanaian culture, I have found myself applying lessons learned while working for La Vida to my work here in Ghana. One of the most important group facilitation skills I learned during La Vida staff training was that of framing experiences. Prior to beginning an activity it is always important to explain the relevance of the activity and ensure participants understand the task ahead. This same approach is essential when facilitating training sessions or other activities here in Ghana.

Many of the people I work with have little to no education and do not speak English, and my local language skills require a lot of work before I can begin offering training sessions in the locally spoken Mampruli. Most of my formal communication with people is therefore done through a translator. When speaking through a translator, messages are easily skewed, so it’s essential to ensure trainees understand what they will be doing and why it is relevant before beginning an activity. When meetings and trainings are framed effectively, those attending the meetings and trainings understand the messages conveyed and retain information passed more effectively than they do when meetings and trainings are framed poorly.

My experience working with co-leaders on La Vida also prepared me for my work in Ghana. On La Vida, I learned the importance of communicating my thoughts and intentions with my co-leaders before making decisions or taking action. I now apply this lesson whenever I work with my counterparts in my village. My counterparts serve as translators and co-facilitators when meeting with or training Ghanaian farmers, and communicating my thoughts and intentions with my counterparts before making decisions and beginning training sessions is essential. Prior to conducting training sessions, I often meet with my counterparts to make sure they understand the messages I want to get across. If my counterparts understand the messages that the trainees need to hear, then we reduce the amount of information that is lost in translation during meetings and training sessions, and everyone (hopefully) goes home enlightened.

I loved working for La Vida during my summer breaks from college. La Vida gave me a chance to perform meaningful work, enjoy God’s creation, and experience wholesome community, and the atmosphere surrounding the program made me want to come back for more each year. Now that I have moved on to a new job, I see how lessons I learned on La Vida apply to my life outside La Vida, and I’m continuing what I started on a warm August morning when I last ran eight and a half miles back to Base Camp.

Roland worked as a Sherpa for our Adirondack Expeditions program in 2013 and 2015. We were so blessed to have him on our leadership team and are proud of his continued dedication to servant-leadership. If you are interested in working for La Vida, please visit us at http://www.gordon.edu/lavida/staff