It seems late to be recognizing the end of summer, but it’s been an extraordinary fall here in Vermont. To give you a sense of the weather we enjoyed over the past few weeks, we harvested tomatoes past peak foliage and September saw temperatures in the 80’s throughout the month and 70’s were the norm all October. We’re just now putting the garden to bed for the season.
The summer was incredible here in the mountains. Despite a rainy start, things dried out in mid-June which put the garden in full swing. Our weekly Excursions took us backpacking, paddling, and biking throughout the Green Mountain state and in the Adirondacks. Our groups covered ground and water learning not just about the world around them, but the world within. Each participant charted a course toward growth, addressing challenges and finding the place where health and self converge.
This summer was a growth period for our program as well. We served families from all across New England, New York, and New Jersey as well as from Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Illinois. In early July we brought on Dr. Caitlin Kinnart as a lead therapist and expanded our mentor team with three new hires, added some support staff and completed some facilities improvement projects.
I recently spoke with a participant we worked with earlier in the summer. He spent three months at our program and completed our follow-up coaching for six weeks. He called to check in and let us know how he was doing. After years of struggling to finish school and find work, years of conflict with his family, and years of feeling like he could not find a way forward, he told me he was hopeful again. He began working part-time, re-enrolled in school, found an apartment and was following through on his home-plan goals. It wasn’t all easy, but he said he had the confidence to see his way through the tough spots.
Sitting back this morning, reflecting on the warmer months, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this work, to see the change in the young adults we serve and to see the families we work with come together in new ways. As the seasons change and what-was-supposed-to-be-fall leads us into winter, it’s easy to think that these transitions come easily. But sometimes, the change is the result of a brave step forward. Even when it’s hard to let go of old ways, making the decision to move forward opens up a whole new world of possibilities.