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Tip of the (Hard) Hat: 2016 Teen Trail Crew Leaders

September 7, 2016
Harriman Teen Trail Crew
Nathaniel BachHarriman Teen Trail Crew

The title says it all, but does not come close to expressing the gratitude I feel for all of your efforts leading AMC’s Teen Trail Crews.  Your hard work and dedication is what gives me the opportunity to do the work that I love.  It’s because of you that all of us get to explore miles of wonderful trails in the parks and forests that AMC partners with.  The sacrifices you have made this summer also help to ensure future stewardship.  Whether you realize it or not, the experiences you created for our program participants will make an enormous difference over the course of time.  You may have just provided improved perspective for the next Benton MacKaye, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, or Teddy Roosevelt.  Speaking of famous environmentalists, here’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that has always spoken to me.  My guess is your efforts this year have allowed many to better understand exactly what he was talking about…

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.”

What you did this during the summer of 2016 allowed many, some of them for the first time in their lives, to experience what this world has to offer.  You brought them closer to independence while allowing them to better comprehend how easily strong interpersonal bonds can be formed when everyone works together.  They got dirty, smelly, sweaty and gross, yet they didn’t seem to care much because they weren’t concerned about how others perceived them.  You brought them closer to nature, which hopefully creates a never-ending desire within themselves to understand and experience more of it.  And most importantly, at the end of their program they got to take a step back from their projects and understand how powerful the feeling of accomplishment can be.

I speak for not just the entire Trails Department, but everyone here at AMC when I say…

“Thank you!” 

Harriman Teen Trail Crew
Nathaniel BachHarriman Teen Trail Crew
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Jonathan Martin

AMC Outdoors, the magazine of the Appalachian Mountain Club, inspires readers to get outside and get engaged. Learn more.