Heartfelt Relationships: 25 Years Later

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The Spoken Outdoors leadership team has a staff meeting every Thursday evening.  This week’s staff meeting needed to be incredibly focused as we prepared the agenda for the upcoming Annual Board Meeting. 

Crazy busy days for the team offered tons of distraction, making focus a challenge.

During one of the distracting moments, we started discussing the Spoken Outdoors blog. Seems that some long-time friends had read the blog post called “A Defining Moment and the Journey to Spoken Outdoors.”

Their reply was a heartfelt recollection of our friendship over the last 25 years. Where it started and the journey together over those years.

You can guess that this experience derailed the board meeting planning and launched one of my often-heard diatribes about relationships.

Listen carefully to the silence. You can probably recall hearing me say “The best moments in life were exceptional because of the people you were with, and the worst moments were overcome because of the people you were with.” 

I believe, regardless of the circumstances, life is about people.

Much of what drives Spoken Outdoors every day is the realization that we have an opportunity to share the outdoors with first responders and veterans. 

It’s way more complicated than that.

It is about creating an experience that takes folks out of their normal day-to-day life and exposes them to experiences they may not have, with people they didn’t know. 

Being on the river absent of cell phones and life’s many distractions, with folks you don’t know well creates the perfect incubator for strong relationships. 

Every event starts with the posturing of who is who, folks trying to establish a pecking order of sorts.  Day two: the posturing has all but vanished. Relationships are starting to develop. People are willing to invest in each other.  The final “goodbyes” at the end of an event are often filled with choked-back emotions. These good byes indicate a lifetime friendship.

Circling back to the comment of the relationship that prompted this writing.  25 years ago, two couples who had never met, waiting in line for a ferry boat. We altered our plans to travel together for a few days.  Here we are 25 years later still on the journey.

Get outdoors. People matter. Invest in people.  It could become a lifelong friendship.

Spoken Outdoors serves America’s Protectors by hosting events throughout the U.S. focusing on outdoor experiences that educate, stretch boundaries, challenge limits, and create confidence. Sign up for our newsletter or visit our website.

Heath Gunns

Executive Director of Spoken Outdoors | You can find him rowing a drift boat, fishing, or hunting. Over 15 years ago, he started in the non-profit sector letting him introduce the outdoors to so many people. Oh, and lets not forget his history as a Marine, Law Enforcement Officer, and firearms instructor.

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