It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label stopher's stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stopher's stuff. Show all posts

Friday, April 2, 2021

End of an Era

After more than a Decade, My Wood Badge Adventure Comes to an End

A couple of years back, in 2019, I shared how I was named the Course Director for a special training program within Scouting. I’ve been an adult leader in Scouting since 2005 and went through the training program myself as a participant in 2010. That program coupled together with Scouting in general, along with numerous roles that I’ve had within the movement has definitely helped me break out of my shell more than anything I’ve ever done in my life, and has served me well as a business owner, too. For the extremely shy little boy in preschool who would hide under the table, many who knew me then wouldn’t recognize who I’ve become, pretty much thanks to Scouting. I’m still introverted, yes, but absolutely know how to “turn it on” and become an outgoing “quasi-extrovert” when I need to much so that several people in Scouting have been shocked to learn that I really am an introvert and nowhere as outgoing as I portray in those settings.

After several times of being on staff, in 2017 I was asked and given the opportunity to serve in the backup role for 2018 and then for 2019 as the Course Director for the Fall Wood Badge course in my Scouting council. For my friends and family who have never been part of Scouting or perhaps have but have never been through the course, Wood Badge is the highest level of adult leadership training available. The course’s roots go back over 100 years to 1919 when the founder of Scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powel determined that youth need adult leaders to be trained to better help mentor and guide them in their journey. The course has gone on through time to be the premier training course in Scouting the world over, with it taking place in each country where Scouting can be found.

The course I led was scheduled during the actual 100th anniversary of the program, with our 2nd day taking place on what was the 1st day of that original course in England back in 1919, which was a thrill to be leading a true Centennial course, and not just one during the 100th anniversary year.

The course itself is a highly respected program that many industries and employers, including the military, often emulate, but ours is much more interactive, engaging, and fun as we move throughout the course timeline between indoor and outdoor activities. The session that I would oversee was a 6-day development program filled with classroom-style, small group breakouts, and plenty of outdoor situations where our participants would immerse themselves in topics such as “Living the Values”, “Bringing the Vision to Life”, “Models for Success”, “Tools of the Trade”, and “Leading to Make a Difference”. Each of the assorted modules that make up these central themes are so much more than just Scouting related – we teach and impart LEADERSHIP, in a Scouting setting drawing the history and tradition of the movement, but the skills taught and received transcend Scouting and are very applicable in their jobs, homes, families, and other volunteer settings they are involved with. (All of these skills have made me a better business person through the years, so I'm grateful professionally for the experience as well!)

When asked to serve as a Course Director you are given one opportunity to make it successful. No less than 30 days prior to the start of the course you must achieve a minimum attendance of 30 participants, with a maximum of 48 unless by necessity you are granted an extension waiver for 56. The staff rallied to the full course goal that I had set, and by golly, we sold out the course needing that extension waiver. It was granted and we sold out again…with a waiting list! That was so exciting. But as things always happen, we had some cancelations prior to the start, but thanks to that waiting list, we still ended up having a full course by Day 1. 48 participants.

During the course itself, we’re actively together for 6-days over two 3-day weekends, and then at the end of the 6 days, we send the participants away back into the world, with “homework”. They have to create a “Ticket” of 5 Goals that they write during the 6-days and then are given 18 months to complete those goals. As with anything in life, some are quicker than others, but in the end, our goal was for all of them to complete what they started in writing those goals. Over the 18 months which just ended a few days ago, some made some slight revisions to their goals due to covid realities, and some revised a goal or two entirely as their situation in Scouting evolved from when they were on course. But at the end of the 18-months, these amazing individuals gave me an incredible gift, in that ALL 48 of them successfully completed their Tickets.

Much like the rank of Eagle for the youth in the Scouting program, adults who participate in Wood Badge don’t always complete. For the youth, there’s something like 8% of the youth who actually achieve the rank of Eagle. For the adults in Wood Badge, it’s a comparable number but probably less as once they leave the “safety” of the course environment…life gets back in the way and often hits hard. Time management can be a detriment for many participants as they often put off the necessary work to get their goals accomplished. Sometimes their life situation faces upheaval through death in the family, divorce, job loss, or other things. Sometimes people’s priorities change and they just don’t see the need or benefit of finishing.

To have a course full of 48 participants that achieved 100% Ticket completion feels really good. I’m very proud of all of the time and dedication that the entire staff put into making this an experience that each participant wanted to be successful at. It is a joy now that I am on the “other side” of this course to know that every single one of them succeeded in their goal quest, which will serve as a wonderful foundation for their future adventures in Scouting and beyond. What they have done through their goals will have a ripple effect, benefitting generations of youth yet to come.

Well done, ADVENTURERS! I’m so proud of all 64 participants and staff alike!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Greetings

Thanksgiving Day may be different than normal for you...there may be chairs empty at your table that are usually filled with loved ones...and 2020 most certainly hasn't gone as you envisioned back at this time last year...
but if you have breath in your lungs, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, and food on your table, remember that you are considerably blessed!
From our family to yours, enjoy the day and give thanks for all the blessings in your life. We wish you all a wonderful holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Reflections on Turning 50

Yesterday was my 50th birthday and it was a great day!

THANK YOU so much to all those who took a moment and wished me a happy birthday here on Facebook, and in addition to all of you, I received many wonderful texts, emails, phone calls, and a delightful amount of physical cards in the mail. It's a milestone for many parts of this world to reach the half-century mark, let alone live much longer beyond it.

> One of my younger friends said that I've reached level 50 and I'm zooming on my way to level 100!
> One of my older friends pointed out that I'm now closer to 100 than I am to birth.
> Another of the older ones than me (my brother), shared this little nugget which I find quite profound... "at 50 I have now passed over from the old age of my youth and entered the youth of my old age".


I've always felt that age really is just a number and you are as young as you feel, and I've always enjoyed being active and doing things to make me feel young, and to know that I'm in the youth of my old age... It's great to be a kid again! 😉 But in reality, it is just a number as I begin my fabulous 50s and I look forward to many wonderful new adventures yet to come in numerous sectors of my life.
I'm very grateful for my circle of friends and family and all that you mean to me. I cherish each and every one of you, and as I scrolled through my Facebook messages from so many of you, I tried very hard to respond to each and every one of them, as each one brought a smile to my face and a happy memory or two of past interactions together. If I missed any, it wasn't intentional, but probably Facebook making it hard to keep up as they just kept coming! While we may not be able to see each other often physically due to many factors including distance, available time, and more, know that you're in my heart, and I look forward to the day that we might be able to be together again in person.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

An Adventure I Will NEVER Forget

One of the proudest moments in my 40's came last year as I was officially awarded my Course Director beads and woggle in front of family and dear friends, and then got to have the extreme pleasure of serving together with an incredible staff to bring the 100th Anniversary Wood Badge leadership training course to our Council in 2019. We had a full, sold-out course, and over half of our participants so far have completed their homework, working their Tickets successfully...and the rest are well on their way to completion. They have 6 more months of working time, so nearly half of my 50th year will still be part of Wood Badge. If there was a way to continue on that journey, I'd love to do it, but once Course Director, my time is done.

It was a WONDERFUL experience going from a participant at 39, through all the years of staffing, and then serving as Course Director from 48-50. Wood Badge was a big part of my life throughout the entire decade of my 40's. Looking back, making the decision to attend that course back in 2010 was the best choice I could have made, and what an honor it was to be able to serve so many participants through the years under excellent mentoring and tutelage from 8 fine Course Directors before me. It was such a thrill to have all of them participate in some way at our celebratory dinner, in the course itself, and in supporting ways along the way, as well as with a couple of other great former Course Directors who helped us out in the kitchen! What a blessing it was to me to be part of it all and to be able to lead an exemplary staff. It truly was an ADVENTURE that I will never forget.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Remembering Alaska...Travel Memories

 This popped up in my Facebook memories today.  Man, this was an amazing experience 4 years ago. I LOVE Alaska. That was my last big adventure this year before this pandemic really changed everything this year, and 4 years ago this week I was there as seen in this memory. I can't wait to be able to go back. I love it in Summer and Winter. Now I need to see it in Spring and Fall too.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

So Much Has Changed in A Year

This memory popped up in my Facebook feed today, and wow, how much has changed in a year! Last year today I was interviewed for a TV segment on travel and business was booming. This year...not so much. Hopefully, travel can return sooner than later. There are so many places I've yet to explore, so many experiences yet to be enjoyed, so many mountains to climb, and so many time zones to go to sleep in.

But until's Food Pantry Day. I'm excited to be able to go over and finish the prep work this morning so that our guests can receive some fabulous food blessings this afternoon. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ahhh, Paris. Travel Memories...

 This popped up in my Facebook Memories today.  Sigh.  

Three years ago...I so wish travel could be part of our summer this year. Ahhh, Paris...that was an awesome trip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Travel Memories Getting Me Through Covid

I don't normally share a lot of truly personal stuff as I tend to be fairly private except for those that I'm closest with, but I have to just admit that 2020 has been my own personal "Annus horribilis", (as the Queen of England once described the year 1992). Very quickly after the bulk of this covid-19 mess took off and so many stay-at-home / self-isolating/quarantine orders began around the country in early March, I watched as much of my booked business for the rest of 2020 quickly disappeared before my eyes, as cancellations by vendors mounted weekly (and still are), taking away all of the income for the summer and into the fall that would have come in, since as a travel agency owner I get paid when my guests actually depart on their trips. Despite all that bad, we've been ok as God has provided, and I've kept busy by serving in our church's Food Pantry two days each week and DoorDashing the rest of the time to bring something in each week and help with both the household and business obligations. Dealing with all the cancellations and re-booking sucked, to be honest, and I kind of went into a funk for several weeks as no one was even considering booking anything...until a couple of weeks ago when I got two different requests for actual NEW travel, not just re-booking something that has been canceled.

😀 Back in mid-March, as a way to not get sucked into the looming depression that could have happened as a result, I began sharing a "travel memory" nearly every day since then. It began as a single image per day, and more recently I upped it to also share a video per day from my assorted travels and adventures that I have enjoyed through the past decade or more.
These images and videos bring joy in many ways and brighten my day each time I choose a new one to share as they remind me of wonderful places, experiences, and people - both friends and family that I got to experience and enjoy together with. They have primarily been shared on my Instagram (info included in the image), so if you're on Insta, and would like to follow me to see more, I'd love that. More recently they've also been shared on my business FB page Cruise Planners - Christopher Lingren & Associates (link in my bio or on the left side of your screen if using your computer to read this vs your phone). If you don't currently "like" my page, I also invite you to do so and follow my stuff there as well.
This has been a hard year for so many, in so many different ways. Yes, I'm ok and will be, but I have to admit it's been very, very, very hard to keep it together. Many days I just haven't cared about most all of it and just haven't wanted to do anything, but I keep pressing on as my family needs me to. I so want to go somewhere, and adventure again, but alas that too must wait for another time. Until that time comes, more travel memories await. I hope you'll follow along! And more than anything, I hope and pray that YOU are faring well through all of this yuck. If there's anything that I can pray specifically for you, please don't hesitate to let me know. God hears our prayers and loves you so much. So do I. Thanks for being you, and being a part of my life.

Friday, May 8, 2020

I Miss Traveling

This popped up in my Facebook memories today. That trip to New York, being with many CP friends, being on TV, and sailing on the inaugural of Norwegian Breakaway was such a blast. I miss traveling.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Continuing Ed - Hospitality & Tourism Management

Using part of this crazy time to do some additional coursework and learning. This is one of the programs I've been working on. The other will still take a while but continuing education is important, and with all travel shut down yet for a while, it's a great time to get it done.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Passing the Time during Covid with Puzzles

As I continue to pass the time during covid with some puzzles, here's a throwback to one of my favorite puzzles I've ever done. I completed this beauty on my Hurtigruten voyage around the Gulf of St Lawrence in May 2018. Sadly I had to leave it on the ship and couldn't bring it home.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

26 Years of Adventure!

Happy Anniversary to my love. 26 years ago Julie and I were wed, kicking off a fun adventure that would be filled with ups, downs, twists, and a few loops that would rival any roller coaster. We've laughed, cried, fought, had fun along the way, and together produced three amazing offspring. From California to Michigan, back to California, and on to Indiana, we've had a pretty good adventure, but truly have only begun. We don't have any guarantees of tomorrow, but with God's help, another 26 years or more is on the menu. Pictured below, we're on the Disney Magic, from one mini-adventure several years back, just one of many within the grand scheme of our shared lifelong adventure.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Sands of Adventure

My "Sands of Adventure" jar number two has finally been filled after a couple of years of collecting since number one was filled. Jar one features 17 different areas of sand, and jar two features 10 more. I did make these layers thicker than the first jar to better show off the differences, so I still have six locations unused waiting to start in on number three. I'm looking forward to new adventures in 2020 to help fill the next jar. I love seeing and feeling the color and textural differences of sand from all around this beautiful world.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Legos & Cookies

Adventures with Legos and cookies today. My awesome staff gave me the Disneyland Main Street Station at the conclusion of our Wood Badge course in September and I finally opened up the packaging to begin this afternoon. I got the engine built for the train today and will build the rest over the next week. I also got the second batch of my favorite Norwegian Christmas cookies made today (the last kind of several types I make). I've been making them for 28 years now since my grandmother died, and have been excited to see Matthew learn how to make a couple of the different varieties this year. Traditions can be cool, especially when they get passed on to the next generation.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lego Fun from Down Under

As the snow falls outside, I'm having fun inside thinking back on my outback adventure during 2019, while building my Sydney Lego set, and pondering 2020 adventures to come.

Monday, October 21, 2019

I'm exhausted. Take Two Will Hopefully Work

Take two! Hopefully, this one actually works this time. It's been eventful, to be sure. After last night's fun, the flight pair I was moved to that would have taken me to Tampa, and then to Indy, changed this morning. The Tampa to IND flight was canceled at about 5:30 this morning! Sigh. Back to the counter. Sweet and polite once more, and the nice lady found me a canceled seat on the 10:50 am flight which is nonstop and was not there last night! But then the flight was delayed due to weather in Houston, causing the plane to arrive late in Denver. But I'm on the plane now waiting to leave. Pray, I get home with no more issues. I love Southwest, but again...none of us control the weather! Gotta roll with the punches, and just smile. Blessed are the flexible, for they won't get bent out of shape... but I don't want to set foot in an airport for a little bit. The overnight in Denver did more of a number on my body than the flights to/from Sydney. I'm exhausted. Going to sleep well tonight.

I Don't Control The Weather. NO Travel Agent Does.

"Blessed are the flexible, for they won't get bent out of shape." Sage advice from a wonderful mentor and friend.

When traveling, ALWAYS remember neither you nor the pilots are in control of the weather. Tonight, my connecting flight from Denver took off just fine, and everything seemed fine, until lo and behold the pilot came on close to when we should be landing in Indy and announced we were diverted back to Denver due to weather in Chicago closing that airport and routing everything they could to Indy before it closes for the night (last flights in at 1am). So I'm stuck in Denver, with an important meeting in Indy tomorrow evening. With so many flights to have to re-accommodate, pretty much all flights out in the morning were already sold out by the time I inched up the customer service line. But unlike the people in the line to my left berating the rep, I smiled and was very nice and polite. I thanked her for staying late to help us and get us all to our destinations. I said I didn't care what route, just that I would like to be back in time for my meeting if at all possible. She said she'd try. While the couple to my left continued to yell when they wouldn't be able to get home until Tuesday at the earliest, suddenly my rep said a single seat was found on a flight out tomorrow morning. It's not ideal, taking me to Tampa first before Indy, but it will get me home in time for my meeting.
Remember none of us control the weather, and so don't get so uptight when frustrations arise. Roll with the punches and smile. No one likes spending the night in an airport, but I'd rather do that than wait until Tuesday or even Wednesday to get the flight "I want". The folks working the counters are people too. Treat them as such and you'll get farther with them than berating them and treating them like dogs.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

All Good Adventures Must End - Returning to the US from Down Under

I had a window seat on the way back from Australia and enjoyed watching the view. As we worked our way to LAX, I snapped a photo and grabbed a screenshot of the map as I found it fun to see how after flying into total darkness, somewhere east and north of New Zealand, the light began to creep in somewhere east and south of Hawaii until the city lights of LA began to really illuminate the morning sky.



Friday, October 18, 2019

Time to Say Farewell...for Now!

Our chariot is here, ready for the nice, long flight home. See you all tomorrow (though for us it'll be a repeat of today! 😀). ADVENTURE!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Just Passing the Time

I never could connect to the WiFi on Virgin Australia so I couldn't watch a movie on our flight to Sydney, but I did have fun tracking our flight via screenshot. Darwin to Sydney is a 3.5 hr flight, and Sydney is 1.5 hours ahead of Darwin. We left at 2:30 pm and were scheduled to arrive at 7 pm, but with lots of wind storms, we didn't arrive until after 8:15 pm...lots of circling waiting to land.