Category: Tom’s Corner


21 Reasons to do a 21-Day Expedition

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.


Why Young Adults Need Community Living

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.


How Wilderness Experiences Can Improve Parenting: Reason #1

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. 


When Fear Calls Your Name

“Phil, I have to turn around.” At 19,000 feet on Cotopaxi in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, we could see the summit and smell its volcanic sulfur. Physically, I was strong, but emotionally, I was drained and frightened. After rounding a 60-foot ice column, a nightmarish fear came from out of nowhere, and its shock overtook me, shattering the thin veneer of swagger I had been carefully building since our first day in country. 


Summit Executive Director Tom Smith Publishes Debut Book!

In Hold Mine Hand, Tom takes readers deep into the lives of his family. Tom opens his personal journals and shares hundreds of his sons’ quotes to reveal what they consider most important: parents, family, God, grandparents and friends. Often funny and sometimes tragic, Hold Mine Hand applies fresh and unforgettable insights to everyday parenting and life.