Monday, September 25, 2006

When two forces join, the impact is often greater than the sum of the two operating independently...a force multiplier.

As we step into the shorter days of Fall and we collect the images and recollect the times of summer (our 14th!), what a summer it was! Particularly for youth programming. From May thru the end of August we had the opportunity to join with:
- Boy Scouts from Shenandoah Area Council;
- Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Council of the Nations Capital;
- Wakefield (The Plains) School's Discovery Week;
- Frederick (MD) YMCA;
- Parks and Recreation departments from Frederick and Clarke Counties in northwestern VA, and of Frederick County, MD;
-The SGA from Rappahannock County High School (working in paradise!)
- Camp Pecometh (serving the DelMarVa region Methodist church);
- Summer school students from Washington County MD;
- New/incoming students at Washington DC's SEED public charter school;
- The Frederick Co (VA) Sherriff's youth camp;and, especially,
- Various family/child advocacy and social services organizations (Department of Social Services [DSS], Office of Children and Families [OCF] and Community agency School Services [CASS]) from northern and central MD.


The last category (DSS, OCF, CASS), of all the groups we served, was perhaps the most totally demanding and certainly the most fulfilling. On that point the entire Teamlink staff agrees.

Whether exploring the macroinvertebrate wonders of the river, floating, splashing, playing..

or climbing WAY beyond and out of their comfort zone...

or just sitting, talking and laughing, sharing time and space with a friend..

the kids we shared our summertime with, just maybe, will never be the same.

..and, because of them and with thanks, we will not be the same, either.

Friday, September 15, 2006

To Build a team...

In May of this year we were contacted by a team of engineers and project managers from Bechtel Engineering in Frederick MD. It seems they were entered in the US Challenge and wanted to get a leg up on the competition.. with less than a little hesitation, we jumped on the opportunity.
(We had partnered with Bechtel in the past on youth development and mentoring programs, so we knew that if they were behind it, they would be committed to it.)

Now to back up a bit, the US Challenge is a fundraiser for St Judes Hospital.. Each team raises money and all of the proceeds from the competition go to support programs for children and toward medical research for childhood diseases. (For more information, see )This was pretty much a no brainer for us.. a cause we could really sink our teeth into. For the team, it was a significant commitment to a lot of training and skill acquisition. We were honored to be asked to help. (We'll be more honored when the team wins!)

Billed as "intelligent sport", the US Challenge is basically an adventure race geared toward professionals who typically do not have unlimited training time.. The challenges require significant creativity and problem solving , as well as plain old physical determination and basic skill proficiency.

Our team is a group of mostly 20-something really bright folks. They are also pretty darn good athletes.. and together, our training program has been an enriching journey in so many ways. As a team, we have raised well over $12,000!!! But also as a team we have developed some real bonds of cameraderie, trust, respect and friendship.
(The opening image is a group from Bechtel who attended a rock climbing fundraiser.. earning the team well over $1000.00 on a Saturday morning. THANK-YOU!)

So, since beginning in June we have been getting together to train twice weekly. We started with the basics: a foundation of solid fitness and aerobic capacity, basic skills, including: knot tying, land navigation (on foot,bike and water), mtn biking technique, paddling technique, communication skills and techniques, survival, trail running, first aid etc, and have been increasingly progressing through more complex tasks. This week we built and utilized a tyrolean traverse across a chasm in our local rock... by headlight. On Saturday morning, as the sun comes up and most people are just having their first cup of coffee, Team Bechtel will be thrashing thru the woods completing an off-trail, multi-leg compass course with each leg at least 1 mile in length.

We'll be doing a running commentary as we proceed to the competition dates in mid October. check back often..