Weaving through space and time with a group of 16 students.Within my worldview, I can’t help but ask: “Why these particular 16 young adults? What might, what could, the significance of our mutually joined paths be?” Sometimes I get lost in the granular details of what pulling together this experience looks like, something easy to do given the massive amount of moving parts present. At any given moment, I am in the office ordering some crucial part or connecting details, often staring out the window getting impatient to hop a plane to Colorado. Meeting part of the student group and their parents this weekend had a grounding effect - it pulled me out of that channel and let me see the whole river to remember why I am here.
Meandering, yes. Powerful, yes. Unstoppable, of course. We are all embarking upon something profound by participating on an incredibly unique gap-year that posits challenge and skill-building as its central tenants. My experience with our students this weekend brought that idea into sharp focus. We are working alongside wonderful and shiny human beings who are right on the cusp of entering the world as profound and intentional adults. The space we occupy, they as students and we as the guides/mentors, is a space full to the brim of joy, fear, and an incomparable ripeness for growth.
I was reminded of my position as an older adult, a mere 10-13 years further down the path of living, and ingrained with little nuggets of wisdom that I could never have foreseen as a young adult. I relish the opportunity to work with our young Winterline gap-year students and support them as they move into healthy, mature, and fulfilling lives. It is a position I can never be 100% prepared for, yet a challenge I wholeheartedly embrace. My role, that of Field Advisor, has obvious responsibilities: keep people safe, make sure they are healthy, and provide the dynamic and quality programming that we at Winterline have created. Yet it is also untouchably complex when I back up and look at the whole river. Human beings, I work with human beings. We are some of the most unpredictable and profound animals on the planet. Throw in youth, travel, experiential education, unforeseen challenges, and intense community building - it’s the perfect storm of wonder and excitement.
This job is a calling for me. I can’t wait to catch that plane to kick the whole thing off while carrying the weight of these students and their loved ones into the next phase of life. After all, while my business card says Field Advisor, I often feel more like the banks of a river trying to let the whole thing run wild and free.