New Year’s #4, and KIVU
Most of you know, for the lat 20 years, I’ve been solely dedicated to our Summer Teenage Program called KIVU. Our initial search results when we asked teenagers, “What do you do in the summer time?” showed various sports camps, summer school, and some mission related activities. Couple those with the annual summer vacation, and it seems like summer is getting shorter and shorter for the average family calendar.
We did, however; run into a lot of students who were sitting at home just vegging out on video games and pizza. Parents started calling, “How can I get my teenager motivated to go out and be a part of the world?” And then came a brainstorm idea.
The Summer Experience
Sure there’s a boat load of activities you can get involved in during the summer. But we wanted to create a unique destination resort type of facility that students could be proud of. We invited every one of our friends, and built a facility where they could White Water Raft, Mountain Bike, Rock Climb, Hike, or just sit on the dock at the lake for two weeks reflecting on life. Could that with the variety of clientele that come, and you have the ingredients for a magical summer time break.
But who do you hire to work at your place? Who will influence my kid?
We spend an inordinate amount of time traveling the country in search for the very best college student who can come and manage our activities, and be mentors to the students attending KIVU. They go through an extensive application process, a face to face interview with one of our full-time staff, and two weeks of intense training before the first student arrives at the beginning of June. We take the responsibility of giving teenagers a safe place to explore who they are, what they want to be when they grow up, and 2 weeks of Colorado fun, VERY SERIOUSLY. And if one of our staff doesn’t meet our requirement, they are asked to leave. Immediately.
We know there are places in the world that have proven themselves to be unsafe environments for students, and we are dedicated to providing the safest emotional, physical, and spiritual environment for the students that come enjoy KIVU.
What kind of students are coming?
Teenagers from all over the world are finding out about KIVU. Last year we had a group from Amman Jordan come and experience the outdoors of Colorado while meeting new friends from America. Two days into their journey, one of the Jordanian leaders called his parents and said, “Mom, EVERY kid in Jordan needs to come here. This place is AMAZING!!”
She told me of their conversation on my last visit to Amman, and I was overwhelmed.
How cool is it? When the world is spinning out of control – The Middle East seems like it’s in turmoil – Teenagers are living in a diverse Global Environment – And BOOM – we’ve found an incredible answer for the future of both regions.
How much fun would it be to see a group of students seeded with the ideas that friends from overseas can be just that–friends. they don’t have to be enemies on ANY level. They can hike together and discuss important issues they’re dealing with. They can raft together, and build stories that will last a lifetime. They can jet ski on mountain lakes, and learn how to laugh together.
I believe the world can be a better place, if we just give our teenagers an opportunity to share life together.
And this year, I’m more committed than ever to proving my thesis works.
We’re seeing some of our first students move on into the world this year, and they’re actually taking prominent employment that can change the way the world spins. And for that…I’m plugging away to see more.
We’ve got the formula.
We know how to create the environment.
Now it’s time to scale.
Here we go 2015. It’s time to scale.