Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring: Renewal and Growth

You can feel it if you take the opportunity.
The Earth basking in the warmth of the longer days, the soil saturated with a season's worth of moisture.. Life is literally bursting forth, filling the brown and gray landscapes of winter with greens, yellows, blues, purples of a new season.

"Situational awareness" is one of our favorite terms. It's the same as "mindfulness" just more appropriate for when you are hanging out on a river or mountainside (and it's a little less of a "touchy-feely" term). It is a very powerful state of awareness of being which can bring comfort to someone who may be overwhelmed with all the "associated-but-not-really-important" baggage of life or work. When you are aware of your situation, mindful of your being, you are accounting for all those factors that directly and indirectly affect you... and nothing else is of consequence.

Are you breathing? Do you have water? Are you dressed in a way that will protect you from the environment? Are you protected from immediate danger? If the answer to those questions is "yes", then life is good, and you have no immediate worries.

.. and life for that moment is good.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mindfulness by Design.. returning to roots.

In 1993, Teamlink was launched... building on a lifetime of lessons in applied leadership, teamwork, project management and personal development.

The purpose was to serve as a medium for youth to get connected with what is important in life... what it takes to grow strong, mentally and physically, and develop a true sense of character. An additional part of the founding vision was to serve populations that were out of the mainstream, and falling thru many of the social support nets.
By design, we developed a strong offering of corporate activities... with the understanding that our work with corporate groups, itself life-changing and valuable, would allow us the opportunity to work with underserved youth populations...

Fast forward 19 years... Having been identified as "providing model programs" for youth "on the edge" by the US Dept of Justice, and as a Vision of Character, by the YMCA as well as numerous other honors, we have worked with perhaps as many as 5000 young people in therapeutic outdoor adventure programs.
We have also worked coast-to-coast with some of the most recognizable corporate identities in the world.. helping to develop strong communication skills, leadership and functional teams.. as well as hundreds of schools, and community non-profits and every type of company in between. Real training, real experiences.. not fluff and not lecture..

We also developed Shenandoah Mountain Guides as an outlet for our non-therapeutic outdoor adventure guiding.. (offering the "BEST summer adventures in the South"- Southern Living, Jan 2011

In 2012, we are focusing on a return to our roots...

In August 2011, we partnered with the THRIVE Center Heron's Gate program to work with young adults whose severe ADD and depression were handicapping their life. The THRIVE program combines individual and group therapy, psychiatric support and a very healthy dose of outdoor adventure and challenge to produce amazing results!

We are also partnered with "Mindfulness by Adventure" to provide life changing, reflective adventure programming not only for youth, but adults as well... anyone struggling to connect with not only "Who they are" but "Where they are going" .

And lastly we are offering our own organic programs "Intentional Adventure" consisting of weekly adventures that range from the empowerment of survival skills to the thrill of rappellinng thru thousands of feet of waterfalls ... literally every adventure that Shenandoah Mountain Guides provides... and then some.
Designed for young adults and old adults... to break free of "indoors addictions" to get out, to become empowered, to get motivated, to develop real skills and to find freedom and happiness in self reliance and adventure

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're pleased to be of service...

"Thanks for another great team building event Andy! The improvements I see in communication, teamwork, and leadership with the staff after these events is amazing and I don't think you realize what a positive impact you're having on my business. You all did a great job for us again, and we're really looking forward to next year."

That's the sort of feedback we get a lot... and helps us know that we are really doing something right.. especially in this time of economic challenge..
We've never been busier!
Making a real difference in how organizations function , regardless of whether they are growing or just adapting to change...

Call us.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


I recently returned from a trip to the great state of Texas, working with a client at the magnificent Rough Creek Lodge, an 11,000 acre ranch near Glen Rose.
The sheer size of Texas (you really do feel the bigness of everything when you are in the heart of Texas), and the sense that even time is bigger, gave me the opportunity to reflect on this business of corporate team development and the way we do business... and who our clients are.

-We're not flashy or loud... definitely not. In fact we prefer to be more of the "quiet professionals" of the industry.

-We tend to really focus, acutely, on communication skills.. I would guess that more than 90% of perceived team and leadership failures are due to less-than-optimum communication... for whatever the reason..
(and the reasons are so numerous)

-We don't focus on gimmicks and shallow stunts .... you will NEVER hear us say or even imply that riding a zipline will make you a better team player.... or jumping from the top of a telephone pole... or even just the old standby (for some companies) trust falls into your teammates arms...
Ziplines are fun, but that's all they are.

-All of our clients/customers are vibrant and growing companies..(even the BIG ones). Many are the mainstays of American business.. for profit and non-profit alike... and they all have a very positive view of "what can be.."

-It's really fun to work with companies that are excited about the possibilities of improving and growing and changing. Working on a team when everyone is synching and communicating is more than fun it is totally energizing! It truly is "what can be.."

And yet, when I board my plane for the return flight, I find myself more often than not, surrounded by folks who are clearly missing that boat..

Someday I hope they can become "teamlinked"

Friday, February 05, 2010

Makng "Business as usual" better..

There is nothing like a tough economy to make businesses realize that their most important assets are the people who do the work. There is also nothing like a tough economy to realize that any inefficiency in production, product delivery or communication carries a heavy price.

Since the inception of Teamlink in 1993, one of our principal missions has been to increase the efficiency and value of each and every employee and project team... and in doing so increase the profitability of the respective business.

.. and I suppose the number of business in this field is also pretty staggering... everyone seems to have a gimmick... with many tending to replace hard interpersonal skills with adrenaline and"fear management" ... we've never really been sure where that comes into the business equation.

KISMIF.. Keep it Simple, Make it Fun... our mantra for effective learning... meaningful fun.

It's not that we don't like adrenaline and risk.... we just believe that those characteristics serve our guests at Shenandoah Mountain Guides more. ... than , say a widget production team.
Fun? yes.. meaningful?? questionable.

Gaining wisdom from the "Ball of Knowledge"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Looking back..

on the past 4 months.. Phew! It seems I'm always apologizing for this blog being so far out of date.. as the commercial says... "Life comes at you fast..." sometimes too fast to take time out to blog. We have partnered with schools, camps, (local, state and national) organizations and (state and national) parks to reach more than 2500 folks adult and youth.. just in the last 4 months!

Currently, we're:
- Actively supporting both in and after-school enrichment programming for schools throughout the central MD - northwestern VA region;
-Developing educational and adventure programs for 2010;
-Providing training and professional development for educators and counselors who work with after-school enrichment programming;
-Providing character and leadership development programming for teenagers throughout the region;
-Directing and teaching the outdoor education and adventure programs at several regional colleges and universities (our 17 year!); and,
- (as always) Continuing to refine our adult and corporate development programming for the particularly challenging economic environment.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Summer Mode

When Summer rolls around, you can find us almost anyplace outdoors doing what we do best... teaching.

So far this year, we've hosted freshwater biologists from Alaska, Wisconsin, Oregon, (you name it) while supporting our partnership with the Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin.

We're using our "floating laboratories" (canoes) to support Hood College's research into invasive marine species in the upper Potomac River drainage

We have taught a number of LNT Trainer courses to river guides from "River Riders" outfitters in Harpers Ferry WV and to interpretive volunteers for the National Park Service.

...and we've staffed numerous "end of school, outdoor adventure learning celebrations" for fifth graders throughout northern and western Maryland.

One of our favorite activities of summer just concluded... a week long day-camp for 18 qualifying elementary students from Brunswick MD. .. biking, climbing, paddling, swimming.. all right in their backyard along the C&O Canal and Potomac River...

As this is written we're actively providing instructional support to a Girl Scout camp adventure program (climbing) and a Boy Scout high adventure camp program.

As you can tell, things get busy... but boy, is summer awesome or what?!