Gratitude is most often used as a noun, describing as it does, the feeling of being thankful. This warm and comforting word is often bandied about during the holidays, when we reflect upon all of the things for which we are grateful. But for some of us — and in particular, many of our staff members here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) — we treat the word gratitude as a verb.
Great employees often live in gratitude by taking positive action. And that means being present for others, which includes listening to their issues or desires and connecting with them. It also means becoming the person that someone else is grateful for.
Just before the holidays truly got underway, we asked some of our staff members to list just some of the things for which they were most grateful. We’re not the least bit surprised that some of their comments encompassed our students and fellow staffers.
Here’s their take on gratitude, in their own words:
Stephen Mullaney, Director — School Partnerships
- I have been fortunate, through expanded offerings by NCOAE, to be in contact with more people on a national and international level. As an educator in the adventure education field, exposure to ideas outside of the organization for whom I work is enlightening and rewarding.
- I am grateful that NCOAE is being sought out by more organizations and schools, which to me means we are gaining traction and people are ready for something new and exciting in the world of Adventure Education.
- On a personal note, I continue to open up new ‘bikepacking’ routes locally and nationally. And if you don’t know what bikepacking is, look it up and give it a try.
- Finally, after a long time in the outdoors, I still find great pleasure in finding and introducing places that others don’t know exist!
Julius McAdams, Program Director — EMS
- I’m most grateful for the outstanding teamwork here at NCOAE and the relaxed — but professional — working environment I have found here.
- I’m thankful for the mix and quality of the students NCOAE attracts to its programs.
Wesley Hawkins, Field Instructor
- I’m most grateful to NCOAE itself for making a difference in not only local students who are mostly underprivileged, but also students of all demographics worldwide.
- I feel fortunate for the experiences and trips that I have been a part of because of NCOAE. Things like backpacking in the Pisgah Mountain area, Joshua Tree National Park, and Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska.
- I am grateful for the relationships we are forming with Lovett School, the Friends School, and North Carolina Central University. I hope we continue to impress them with our amazing skills.
- I’m most grateful for God for creating a wonderful nature to explore and for giving me the ability to be able to do the things I enjoy!
Meg Young, Director — Admissions
- I’m extremely proud and thankful for the countless EMTs that we have trained, and who have gone on to work in the field of emergency medicine helping others in their time of crisis and saving precious life.
- And I’m grateful for our partnership with Education Without Walls, which enables us to offer the joy of experiencing the great outdoors as a classroom in order to facilitate growth and interpersonal development for motivated youth who otherwise would not be able to afford such an experience.
- I’m grateful that I get to live, work, and play by the sea in Carolina Beach, N.C.
Michelle Potter, Instructor — EMT
- I am thankful for the opportunity to meet bright new students each month.
- I am grateful for NCOAE’s fun working atmosphere, and supportive coworkers.
Zac Adair, Co-founder & Executive Director
- I am grateful for our amazing staff. Working in outdoor and adventure-based education isn’t for everyone. And working for NCOAE is as much as challenge as it is an honor. Everyone we hire and end up sending into the field — as well as those who staff our campus and administrative headquarters — does us proud.
- I am also grateful to our hometown community of Wilmington, N.C., which came to our aid in truly remarkable ways in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence (Sept. / Oct. 2018). Without the support of local businesses, government entities, and more than a few kind citizens, The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education would have suffered unimaginable losses.
- Finally, I am unabashedly grateful for our burgeoning academic relationship with the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Having successful completion of select NCOAE courses and trainings approved for academic credits by UNCW’s Department of Environmental Sciences is something we’re proud to have accomplished and extremely grateful for.
Jessica Cramer, Field Instructor
- I am thankful for how welcome NCOAE makes me feel when I come back from a long hiatus.
- I am grateful for this upcoming summer and all the Education Without Walls trips NCOAE is running and that I’ll be on.
Phillip Groves, Instructor — EMT
- I am thankful for being an instructor at NCOAE where I have the opportunity to meet people from across the nation who are dedicated to providing high-quality prehospital health care Prehospital.
- I am proud to consider myself part of the team at NCOAE.
Liz Shirley, Program Director
- I am thankful for NCOAE’s amazing, talented staff team, who made the 2018 season a huge success — assuring the safety of participants on backcountry adventures around the world! We can’t wait to see all that 2019 brings.
- I am also thankful to be ending the 2018 season in beautiful Patagonia, Chile — leading one of NCOAE’s 24-day Outdoor Educator courses.
All of that being said, the entire staff at NCOAE wishes each of our students, clients, vendors, partners, and community members a Happy New Year and a safe, active and adventurous 2019.