HomeTom's Corner

“The times they are a changin’.” This famous song notes how events of the 1960s re-shaped America’s cultural landscape. Fervent change continues, creating a technologically focused electronic age far different from the post-Vietnam era of a young Bob Dylan.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

Rising 14,409 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier towers so far above Seattle that a person can forecast the day’s weather by it. When the most glaciated peak in the entire continental U.S. is in clear view, the day holds pleasant temperatures and dry skies. If clouds obscure its lofty flanks, settle in for a typical Seattle day- drizzly and bone-chilling gray. In a similar way, Mt. Rainier offers those who would climb it unsurpassed opportunities to assess the human condition.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

This year marks the 30th anniversary of a powerful lesson that hunger revealed about my sinful nature. I like food. A lot. Especially when I know I’ve earned it. For example, after a difficult workout or traveling in wilderness areas, I exhibit a strong desire to replenish the calories lost through exertion or exposure to the elements. Friends call it a compulsion. I call it a need.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

What do 3000, 15, 9, and 18 have to do with Patagonia? This is not really a math question as much as it is a statement of performance. These four numbers highlight my son Brayden’s recent trip to the land of Patagonia in Argentina. They will always remind me of the amazing grit he showed throughout our time there. In this blog, I aim to remind others of the surprising strength and resilience that young people astonish us with.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

Are you a “risk manager?” We don’t often hear that question bandied around at family reunions or pizza parties. But that doesn’t mean that we adults are not aware of the risks involved in our lives–in fact, risk is one of the driving concerns in our daily choices. We may not realize or acknowledge our attempts to manage risk, but we do it all the time. In this blog, I will examine how risk management can affect our choices and practices, especially in family vacations.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

With the oak trees already sprouting their leaves out here in central California, summertime will be here faster than you can say “Where are my shorts?” Ready to get summer adventures on your mind, too? Out of all of Summit Adventure’s open-enrollment summer courses, the 21-Day Leadership Expedition (for ages 16+) is the longest course in our roster. If you’re thinking, “Nah, that’s too long for me,” or “too challenging,” or “too” anything, keep reading–because we’ve got 21 reasons to change your mind.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

Throughout my time working at Summit Adventure, I have enjoyed the privilege of witnessing the marvel of young adults thriving in community together, despite their stark differences. A few years back, Bobbie and Tanya arrived at the Summit Adventure Semester Program, choosing to spend their “study abroad” immersed in close-quarters community. Bobbie, a laid-back musician with little direction in life, came from a highly dysfunctional family. Tanya, however, was a very motivated, self-starting outdoors-woman from a stable, loving home. They couldn’t have been more opposite from each other, and I wondered if learning in such close-knit circumstances would help or hinder them.

READ MORE
Tom Smith

Millennia ago, biblical and historical texts show the Israelites, Jesus, and the members of early Christian monasteries spending significant time in remote wilderness or backcountry areas to improve relationships. More recently, camps and adventure programs such as Summit Adventure have continued this practice by taking participants out on wilderness courses, lasting from a few days to several weeks. While research has long documented the success of this approach in improving interpersonal skills, a new study sheds light on using backcountry living as an integral way to improve relationships between dads and their children. By extension, it is not hard to see how the same approach would also help relationships between mothers and children as well. 

READ MORE
Tom Smith