Meet Emma, our Operations Manager and gear tester extraordinaire. She took on a bit much this afternoon as she tried to field test a large portion of our gear all at once. We're happy to report that, as far as performance goes, the equipment is working as well as can be determined from a lunch break field test. The sleeping pad is comfortable, the sleeping bags are warm, the stoves are in order, and the climbing equipment is solid.
In all seriousness though, we at AML are very excited to be acquiring quality equipment. But it isn't really the 'things' that we are excited about. Sure, shiny new carabiners have a beautiful glisten to them and fresh sleeping bags have a cozy loft. Sure, a new climbing rope slides cleanly through the hand and an unused tarp has that certain sheen about it. But it isn't the 'stuff' that is so exciting for us. For us, the 'things' are merely resources that allow us to strive towards our mission of fostering and inspiring servant leadership. The 'things' are so exciting because they are an essential part of the vehicle that will help to deliver our mission.
When we see this new equipment, it's hard not to envision it all after a season or two of use. We see patches, dents, and signs of mending. We see spots that have been worn from the hard work of teams on expedition together. We see packs that have been scuffed up from being used as seats during a lesson or a team debrief. We see tarps that have lost their sheen as student groups have huddled beneath their shelter for hot drinks or retreat from the sun. We see stoves that have been blackened in many a backcountry kitchen, where conversations amongst cook-groups have brought laughter, tears and joy. We see sleeping pads, wrinkled from use as students have used them as insulation from the ground while soaking in the beautiful scenery and transformative quiet contemplation. We see climbing ropes, slightly dirty, having served as a physical bond between team-mates, literally securing each others' lives- an instrument of developing trust and integrity.
We see in the future "wornness" a character being cultivated in the equipment- a visible sign pointing to the character that has been developed by those who have worn it. So yeah, I guess it is hard to not get excited about the inventory of equipment that AML is building. It's impossible to not think of the incredible personal and spiritual growth that all this gear will have the pleasure to spectate and accommodate.
Can you find in the picture above:
- "Hank" The Chicken
- 2 MSR Whisperlite Stoves
- The Bathroom Trowel (it's high visibility orange)
- A #9 Black Diamond Hexentric
- Emma's Right Big Toe
- 4 Backpacks
****How'd you do?****