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Some Good News for Once

By David Tucker, Mission Outdoors Operations and Programming Coordinator

These days, most news is bad news, with the majority of coverage focusing on the struggling global economy or an increasingly volatile climate. With that being said, I would like to share some good news. It is a story that has played out before with little fanfare, but one that I feel deserves recognition. In my opinion, more coverage of groundbreaking events such as this might be able to save the world.

Last weekend, 32 volunteers arrived at Fort Caswell in North Carolina to train with Sierra Club  DSC_0135
Mission Outdoors, coming from all over the country and from varying backgrounds to share their passion for recreating outside. Support for the program came from the Military Families and Veterans Initiative, a program which highlights the seemingly boundless ability of people to volunteer and sacrifice for others by honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Without the sacrifice of the military and veteran community, we would not have the public lands and parks that we cherish, and training people to share those national treasures would be a moot point.   

While the training was meant to impart expert knowledge about leadership onto people with varying levels of outdoor experience, by session’s end, it was the volunteers who had left a lasting impression on me. At a time when our lives are hectic, and with no clear solutions on the horizon, these people took the time to connect with each other through something as simple as the outdoors. They were willing to spend time away from their families, their communities, and their own lives in an effort to improve the lives of others, and not because they are being paid but because they knew it was the right thing to do.

With all the bad news surrounding the environment, climate, and super storms like Hurricane Sandy, which had devastated communities just north of our training location, it can be easy to get lost in the 24 hour doom and gloom news cycle. It was refreshing to be a small part of what I consider a good news story and I am grateful that I now know so many people doing truly amazing work that has none of the rewards we tend to associate with success and importance. Their actions might seem small and insignificant in the wake of all that goes on day to day around the world, but the more people who decide to take small actions toward a common goal, the more likely we are to see real change where it is desperately needed. To those people, I say thank you.             

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