This month we have continued to ponder the idea of “where a summer at camp can take you” as we did last month. So, we have turned to TVRC’s mission and purpose statements to reflect on the foundational elements of our work. Our purpose is to, “[instill] passion and respect for the outdoors while building self-confidence, skills, and lasting friendships,” and our mission is to, “provide inspiring western adventure in the Jackson Hole and Yellowstone area.”
A common phrase in the camp world and also the general zeitgeist outside of camp as it has been reshaped by a pandemic is, “now more than ever”, yet I would argue that a more apt sentiment would be “today like yesterday”. The work we do is needed today just as it was 82 years ago when Weenie Wilson first founded Teton Valley Ranch Camp. And over those 82 years, while many things have changed, our mission and purpose though sometimes vocalized or worded differently have remained the same. In service of this mission, TVRC has the following values:
· Strength to Lead and Faith to Follow: Rising to the occasion and trusting in the team.
· Answering the Call: Shared achievement in a supportive community; we summit together.
· Ready to Ride: Developing grit, gratitude, and generosity through challenging western adventure.
· Stewardship: Instilling care and respect for the land and wilderness.
· Lifelong Friendships: Genuine connections to others, memories that last.
· TVRC celebrates and cultivates fun, joy, and humor in all we do!
These values are consistent from our traditional program to Expeditions and form the foundation of the far-reaching community we are so lucky to count as alumni and friends. Everything we do is directed with these outcomes in mind.
The Strength to Lead and the Faith to Follow continue to be important today as they were yesterday as we think about educating ourselves, our staff, and our campers to be the next generation of leaders for the world. In the same way, Answering the Call is necessary today in new ways just as it was before as we all learn new ways of building community, and the moments of connection that we do find become far more precious. As challenges arise, being Ready to Ride is how we respond and adapt to each new challenge by persevering with grit and responding first with gratitude and generosity above all else. Another integral part of our ethos is stewardship as we look towards protecting the wilderness we have been exploring for the last 82 years for the generations to come. And none of these efforts would be complete without the friendships forged along the way and the memories gained at camp.
While the last two years have brought many changes, the need for camp has remained constant, and much of what we do has taken on new meaning as opportunities for community have become more scarce in the face of the pandemic. We remain committed to the core values we have held for generations and recognize the precious chance we have to inspire the next generation along the trails we walk and ride. Today like yesterday, we lean on the Strength to Lead and Faith to Follow as we answer the call to teach stewardship and pass on what it means to be Ready to Ride (or hike) to every camper and staff member in the summers to come because a summer at TVRC provides a foundation to respond to whatever grand adventures and challenges life might present.