Weekly Roundup 6/21

trail teamwork…

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Devin took charge of the team during Week 3 to groom the infamous Ed Young trail (aka Jurassic Park), with his assistant team lead Ella (sometimes referred to by Jerry as Ellen). We started on the east side to begin the long task. Carter, Avery and Ashden make sure our tools were prepared and loaded onto the gator, the water cooler was full and all equipment was fueled and ready to go each morning.

 

cowboy values - heart

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Last week, we visited the Samaritan House homeless women’s shelter and felt, first hand, what it means to have heart for other people. This week, we applied that experience in our daily effort to work together as a team. There were many examples of carrying each other’s burdens (or water bottles or equipment) and being genuinely concerned about each other. Jerry shared with the group that his sister is going through brain cancer. Shortly after, he was quietly reading an update about her condition on his phone and Devin asked if everything was alright. Small moments of empathy like this can make a big difference for someone. If a leader shows genuine heart, he or she begins building trust and earns the right to lead.

 

photo moments…

Trevan is starting a routine of introducing a new, strange and wonderful food to the team each week. This week, it was an Oreo and cream cheese sandwich. If you look closely, you can see (in the back) who now thinks Trevan is a culinary genius!

Trevan is starting a routine of introducing a new, strange and wonderful food to the team each week. This week, it was an Oreo and cream cheese sandwich. If you look closely, you can see (in the back) who now thinks Trevan is a culinary genius!

This is what taking a 15-minute break looks like…one at 10:30am and one at 11:45am. A little bit of talking and laughing and a whole lot of video watching!

This is what taking a 15-minute break looks like…one at 10:30am and one at 11:45am. A little bit of talking and laughing and a whole lot of video watching!

Everyone is required to take off their shoes before going into the office to eat lunch and have our daily meeting. This photo of shoes is a great symbol of the hard work done every day on the horse trails of Bell Mountain Ranch.

Everyone is required to take off their shoes before going into the office to eat lunch and have our daily meeting. This photo of shoes is a great symbol of the hard work done every day on the horse trails of Bell Mountain Ranch.

Avery got hungry and started gnawing on a snack…just kidding! Avery is usually the one who notices little things on the ground. This time it was a deer foot (left over from a  real  predator who did do some gnawing).

Avery got hungry and started gnawing on a snack…just kidding! Avery is usually the one who notices little things on the ground. This time it was a deer foot (left over from a real predator who did do some gnawing).

Jerry offered a “free shake” for anyone who spotted the first snake of the summer and took a picture of it. Devin won with this beauty!

Jerry offered a “free shake” for anyone who spotted the first snake of the summer and took a picture of it. Devin won with this beauty!

Jerry asked the kids to explain this meme that was sent to everyone on a group text.

Jerry asked the kids to explain this meme that was sent to everyone on a group text.

Trevan sent this short video clip. Jerry still didn’t get it…

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We played a bit of a trick on Devin this week. Jerry claimed that someone with his profile (big blue/yellow brain with a lot of energy to be assertive and focused/firm) will usually never give up an argument if he knows he is right. Jerry used the word “bratwurst” in a sentence and pronounced “brat” with a short vowel sound (to rhyme with cat"). Devin immediately pointed out Jerry’s mistake and most of the team agreed with Devin. By the time we got back to the office, Jerry secretly asked each youth and all the adults in the office to disagree with Devin by referring to a make-believe source that proved him wrong. As predicted, although everyone on the team and every adult in the office initially disagreed with Devin, he never batted an eye nor doubted himself…he even swayed some of the adults who were instructed not to be swayed! As long as he seriously considers the opinions of other people involved, Devin’s natural self-confidence will be a great asset to him in his future leadership roles.

 

jerry’s trail gems…

Perspective. It is easy to become caught up in what is directly in front of you while grooming the trail and waste time on stuff that isn’t important. It is also easy to do this in life when dealing with immediate tasks or problems. Always remember to take a step back and connect with the perspective of the bigger picture.

Maximizing Energy. Over time, each person on our team is finding the tasks they most enjoy doing. If you let others do what they want to do, you will maximize the results you get from them.

Over-Optimism vs Negativism. Some leaders can be naturally over-optimistic (red brain) and some can seem overly negative (blue brain). However, both of these thinking preferences can be very powerful in motivating others and keeping the team together (red brain) or providing realistic, bottom-line guidance to the team (blue brain).

Standards. Just like each youth staff team over the past three years has raised the trail grooming quality standards, we can do that in real life! A sports team can raise its stats from the previous year. Kids can do things better than their parents. A new generation can raise the bar higher than it’s ever been!

It Gets Better. Parts of the horse trail are really difficult to groom…a trail with lots of small scrub oak, a trail that isn’t even visible, or a trail that seems to have endless overhanging branches. But the workload always improves and the trail gets better as you keep moving forward. When we are experiencing a difficult time in life, remember that it will change in time…and life will get better!

Jerry Van Leuven