Part of the reason (my excuse, and I'm sticking with it) is that we've been incredibly busy. For those of you who don't know, Teamlink has a fraternal twin, Shenandoah Mountain Guides. Together, the two organizations offer the diversity and scope of programs that give us energy, and give our guests variety. Over this past year the SMG side of the business has been borrowing TL staff frequently to satisfy the growing demand of mountain guiding... and what a year it has been! From at-(high) risk young people to university students, from international corporate executives to rock stars... the common link? TeamLink.
With that in mind, I'd like to share with you the 479 images we have of programming...
but I won't.
But I have selected a few images to share as a sample of some of what we did this year.. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy the memories they bring to mind.
Last February and March found us mostly chasing ice and snow from the Blue Ridge to the Potomac Highlands. Traditionally, the winter months are playtime for the staff, and this is uniformly one of our favorite games. This little West Virginia treasure is by far, one of the best.
And then of course we also had to pay the bills.. so we also did a lot of professional development training for a wide variety of organizations that provide enrichment programming for both public and private schools.
In March, we sponsored our annual Wilderness First Aid Weekend. We imported our phenomenal instructor (Donny) from SOLO (New Hampshire), and drew outdoor enthusiasts and professionals from across the East Coast. 2007 was the 8th year we have partnered with our good friends at the Trail House to provide this unforgettable program.
The first warm days of April found us out on the rocks doing follow up work with our kids from the previous summer.(2006)
The true highlight (read: pure fun) of spring for the staff was the opportunity to participate in the Eastern States High Angle Technical Rescue class with the National Park Service and various components of the military and other governmental organizations. Training for a week with the outdoor professionals with which we work was a real bonus. Having the opportunity to help teach the course was a true honor. On the left, Jeremy is supervising the establishment of fixed lines and anchors for a rappelling session.
Another key component of the course was developing a good familiarization with partner agencies' rescue assets. This included the US Park Police rotary-winged aircraft (helo) Eagle 1. Besides basic familiarization training we worked on hoist operations for both litters and rescuers.
Here, Chad and Jeremy are having way too much fun as they simulate human yo-yos while riding a jungle penetrator.
The other cool side of this job, which usually goes unsaid, is the thrill I get when I see my 8 year old have a ball as he learns how to ascend fixed lines.
With the beginning of summer and the summer solstice, our interpretive guiding moved into full swing. Our evening walks at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park have been popular with people from around the world.
As summer progressed we made a shift in our programming. Our mountain guides worked virtually daily in Shenandoah National Park(See Chad's SMG blog), the Teamlink staff worked with corporate groups from the the Pacific to the Atlantic, and our Teamlink youth programs hit the trail for therapeutic, recreational, adventure and educational purposes.
One morning on Hawksbill Mountain (4043') we had the good fortune to observe biologists who were in turn observing peregrine falcon offspring poised on the cliff edge, preparing for their first flight. Funny how trips to the mountains prepare all sorts of creatures for their first flight.
There is nothing like the wonders of a mountain summer, and a spring fed swimming hole.. ice cold on the hottest of summer days
Julia is taking a moment for her own thoughts..
Some of our young women crossing the summit of Old Rag mountain. The end of a long week of backpacking that will not soon be forgotten.
Swimming holes are a recurring theme in summer with all our groups. Notice the clarity of the water?.. It looks so warm.. brrrrrrrr, it's not!
The end of summer is always marked by the flowers and butterflies...everywhere! We also start our university outdoor skill and leadership classes. The next images are from our GWU class trip in August.
Teaching the finer points of MSR stove maintenance and repair. It was a very wet week, but we still had the opportunity for..
Knowing land navigation skills means never having to say you're lost.
Before we knew it, the seasons started to change, the wild honeybees gathered the last of the nectar, the leaves began to change colors, the sky returned to its fall-winter blue and we slid into a new year.
(For those who have never seen one, this tree on the right is a wild honey tree. The dark lumpish- things around the crack are swarming honey bees...)
We're looking forward to seeing you in 2008!