In the past two years team members have gone through a ton of exciting life changes. Brad graduated college (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and moved to Seattle and started working for Safeco Insurance (doing Software Development work). Justin also graduated college (University of North Texas) and got married! He will be moving to Wyoming this fall with his new wife. Ben graduated college (University of Oregon) and is now working full-time. Joe and his wife are enjoying the rigors of a new little girl. Kyle is in his final year of school at the University of Central Florida and will be graduating with his degree in three years. Finally, Pete continues to travel the US working for NOLS and guiding overnight biking trips.
However, now everyone is starting to settle down (location-wise) we are examining the team goals again and where we want to go. In very exciting news Kyle is working with an advertising professor of his to start the process of making the team a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If we can obtain this designation we would be able to raise funds much easier as all donations would be tax-exempt. We would also be able to use websites and organizations such as Kickstarter and Sevenly.org in order to help us raise funds. We are all very hopeful that with this professor's help we can obtain this designation. If anyone has any contacts with the legal profession that would be willing to help us please give us their contact information! (send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org) We are exploring all avenues in order to make this happen. This is by far the biggest hurdle we have right now as a team.
Our goal right now is to be on a plane heading to Aconcagua in the winter (Jan/Feb) of 2014. This is an ambitious goal, but one we think we can obtain. We will need to raise significant funds, but feel that we will be able to do this. We want to get back on the slopes together as a team in order to continue accomplishing our goals and showing the world that blindness is no obstacle!
Another thing we have been kicking around is the idea of Camp Sight Unseen. This camp would allow us to reach out to blind and visually-impaired children and allow them to experience what we experienced in our first days of working together. We want to show them that there is so much out in the world for them to experience, and blindness should not be a limitation to that. We were truly blessed having Global Explorers bring us together, and we want to share that experience with more children. Our idea for the camp is to mix blind and visually-impaired with sighted campers in order to give them a rich experience.
Obviously this is a big undertaking and we realize that. We have thrown around the idea of "piggy-backing" on another camp's logistics (with their approval of course) and then having our own smaller program inside the larger camp itself. We have already pitched this idea to Sanborn Camps in Colorado (whom Kyle worked for last summer). Personally we feel like this is our biggest area for opportunity and an area that we want to grow a lot. We feel that we have a lot to offer blind and visually-impaired children and we want to open their eyes to what is possible.
So right now, that is where we stand. We have all been in pretty constant contact throughout the past year or two. Brad took a trip down to Florida to backpack for a few days with Kyle. Team members continue to meet up to discuss goals and plan for the future. What does everyone think? Like our plans?
-Brad and the rest of the team