Giving Tuesday, Synchronicity and Trails Youth Initiatives

There have been many moments throughout my life that have led me to believe in synchronicity. I take these moments as signs that I am on the right path and being supported by the universe. I know it sounds hokey, but that’s OK. I believe there is much more going on than we can see or understand.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, I wanted to share a story with you. Late this past summer there was a synchronistic full circle moment that happened right when I needed to feel supported. In order for you to understand the magic, I need to take you back about 24 years ago. I was feeling lost at that time. I was teaching in a classroom and despite getting to a place where I found a groove, I never felt fully settled. I had a nagging feeling that I was not where I was meant to be.

It’s amazing how at times when we feel lost, words from others can be a guiding light in our lives.  There were two books that I read at the exact right time that helped me find my way forward.  One of them was called The Right Mountain by Jim Hayhurst. Essentially it is a book about how success is one of the most enthralling words in our vocabulary. We strive for it, yearn for it, plan for it, and often exhaust ourselves in our pursuit of success. But in the end, what is it that we’re truly after? Jim’s book left a massive wake behind it. I believe it was the beginning of a tipping point for me and the life-altering changes that I would soon make.

I have only ever written to one author in my life and it was Jim Hayhurst. I asked him if he would meet with me to help me really understand my own views on success. He graciously invited to me to his office. He asked me some hard questions and led me through a reflective exercise on my “peak experience.” He then helped me parse out the values that were woven throughout my story.   I believe that one meeting with Jim, affectionately known as “Hurst” was immensely helpful in helping me find a path that felt authentic for me.

So, what does this have to do with Giving Tuesday and synchronicity? Here’s where things intersect.  Late this August, ALIVE had to make an unexpected site change. We needed to find an organization, near the city, willing to rent us their space where we could safely take the 1500+ students that we had committed to running outdoor, community building day-programs for. We literally had a week to find a site and plan new programs before our instructor team would unite.  We ended up being welcomed with open arms by the team at Trails Youth Initiatives, and guess who the Founder of Trails was?  Jim Hayhurst.

Trails Youth Initiatives was recognized by Maclean’s Best Canadian Charities in 2020. Their mission is to challenge, equip and empower vulnerable youth from at-risk areas to become contributing members of the community. The “Four Seasons, Four Years, For Life” outdoor program builds confidence through skill development, high school credits, bursaries and mentorship.  The more I learn about it, the more I want to draw everyone’s attention to this small but very mighty and meaningful organization.

One day this past September while I was chatting with Melissa Millward, President of Trails (and friend of ALIVE), I said to her that I wish Hurst knew that we were running programs at the beautiful site that he founded. She smiled and said, “I’m sure he knows and probably even had a hand in it!”  Hurst  passed away on the afternoon of February 29th, 2020, just before his 79th birthday, and Trails 29th year. I cannot even begin to imagine how many people’s lives he made better.

I recognize that there are countless incredible charities to support. I simply wanted to draw your attention to Trails, and ask that if you have something to give as we inch towards the end of this year, please consider this amazing organization. Through a longitudinal approach they are focused on creating lasting change in youth.

You can learn more by watching this video: or checking out their website:

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