A little over a month ago, we all watched in horror as the country of Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake. Like many other people around the world, I remained constantly glued to my television to view the events as they unfolded in the days and weeks following the quake. Each heroic rescue and survival story brought hope and a smile to my face, while tales of lost family members and killed civilians brought those of sadness and despair. As I looked on, I found myself asking the same question that millions of others held in their hearts- “what can I do to help?”

Sure, donating ten dollars through text helps. Yes, donating unused clothes is a good start… but the question remained– what can I do now?

I watched on as the initial wave of support died down. Benefit concerts came and passed; star-studded telethons raised countless dollars and gained massive support around the US, but the question still lingered–what can I do now?

Mother Nature wasted no time in allowing me to answer that question. A turn to CNN this morning proved that devastation had struck again. For those of you who have been out of the loop for the past day, another massive earthquake struck today in Chile. This time, the quake was nearly 500 times the strength of that in Haiti (and no, that’s not a typo).

In beginning to look around the web for stories covering the event, one thing became clear: things were MUCH different this time around. Instead of cries for help and aid, news stories focused on the possible impact at home. Would there be a tsunami? Not likely. Would WE suffer? Probably not. Finally, was it as bad at Haiti? No.

Teens, I’m officially calling you out and asking for action. I’m not asking for a small, one-time donation. I’m not asking that you simply look on and feel bad for the people of Chile and Haiti. I’m asking you plain and simply to be RELENTLESS.

I believe that there come times when each generation will be judged on their contribution towards humanity. As I continue to travel around the country and speak, I see a desire inside of today’s generation to help others. I see a passion that refuses to die down. I see a hunger for a better world.

Today is the day to help others. Now is the time to literally work to create a better world. NOW is the time to be relentless in your efforts. Start rallying clubs and organizations in your school to bear arms together. Begin forming alliances with students to produce a greater good. Finally, see what YOU can do as a leader to help the situations in Haiti and Chile.

I hope to be a resource for you as you begin your efforts to help others. After writing this, I will begin my own process of deciding just how I can make an impact. As always, I will keep you updated along the way =]


Adventure Time – Take Two!

Cold weather, overcrowded malls, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” have been recurring themes during my past few days. Her ridiculous range mixed with constant sugar-highs from candy canes can only mean one thing: yes, it’s officially Christmas time.

As an early holiday stocking-stuffer, I sent you a virtual treasure map last week known as GEOCACHING. While a bunch of you went out and made u-turns that even your Garmin couldn’t recognize in the hunt for buried treasure, others stayed in and watched re-runs of GLEE in denial of the end of the season (I promise that it will be back soon).

So after some hefty thinking and a recommendation from Meganka Martinez (yes, her parents added ‘ka’ to the end of her name…weird), I have yet another adventure for you to go on.

Sometime in the next week I want you to check out LETTERBOXING!

No, this does not involve violently beating innocent mailboxes with boxing gloves, bats, or any other harmful object (sorry everyone).

Letterboxing is another nationally recognized activity that consists of you and your homies going out and finding a box to leave your mark on. Like geocaching, you start the adventure by going to their website and finding hidden boxes near your humble abode. You then take the hints that are provided for you and get busy!  The point of this activity is to leave your signature on a list inside of the box and to also see who has been there before you. If you want to really get into the game, you can make a stamp and place it on the book inside each box you find. IDEA-if you’re playing in groups with friends, try seeing who can get to all of the boxes in a city/region first.

BIG RULE: These boxes are hidden for a reason- WE DON’T WANT TO GIVE AWAY THEIR LOCATION. Make sure when you are trying to find them that you do so without being noticed (major bonus points go to anyone who dresses in the best disguise).

With just under two weeks of your winter vacation left, I encourage you to take the time and explore your communities.  One of the coolest aspects of this activity is that it will cause you to open your eyes to the minor details of your surroundings that you might not notice otherwise. With that in mind, this adventure might just be the perfect way to get the ball rolling on a new service project or leadership idea. After all, it is the season for giving.

Letterboxing Website:

***Drop me a line and let me know how your second adventure turns out! ***

Adventure Time

So I have good news and bad news…

Bad news: I’ve been a horrible blogger and youth speaker lately. Yes, it’s true. I’ve neglected you worse than the old XBOX when 360 came out. For this, I owe you an apology (or some holiday cookies).

This brings us to the good news of the day: I have something to make it up to you.

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of spontaneous adventures. Let’s put it this way, if random exploring sessions were a Facebook status, I would press the “thumbs up” button.

Therefore, I am proud to announce that for the next few weeks, I will be posting a crazy-cool adventure that I want YOU to go on. Why? Because they’re more fun than discovering the ‘Charlie Bit Me’ video on YouTube.  Before I let you in on your first task though, I have a few guidelines/promises for you:

1. Find at least one other person to go on these adventures with you. I promise that you will get much more out of these if you take the time to share the experience with someone else.

2. Make time for these! While some of these adventures are very quick and easy, others can take up an entire day. Make sure you push aside enough time to really enjoy the day.

3. Let me know how they turn out! If you don’t already have a high-tech phone from space that can instantly link Facebook to your location, email me and tell me about your day! I would love to hear what you discover about yourself.

So here we go: announcing ADVENTURE NUMBER ONE (insert drum roll here)…….

I want you to check out GEOCACHING!

No, it’s not a typo (I passed the red scribble test on Word). Geocaching is a crazy cool treasure hunt activity that is played with the help of a GPS (arrrg!). How does it work? Simple: you go to the Geocaching website and find a city near you where others have been before. You then search a treasure that you want to find with your friends and write down the GPS coordinates. Finally, you and your buddies use the coordinates and the virtual ‘treasure map’ to find the treasure of the day!

Don’t have a GPS? We can work on that. Ask around to your family and friends who might have one. Also, anyone with an iPhone can download a GPS feature (yes, there’s an app for that too).

So with that said, happy treasure hunting! I encourage you to find time in the next 7 days to find some treasure with friends. I’ll be waiting here to not only hear about your first adventures, but to also let you know about ANOTHER winter-break idea next week!

Aye aye, matey!