The following post is taken from the Keynote Address to Kidventure employees at 2014 Orientation
Time is this crazy abstract thing.
It organizes our day and it defines our physical perimeters. It tells us when to wake up, go to work, take a pill and watch our favorite TV show. Time is evenly divided and partitioned into 24 hourly segments in a given day, seven of which in one week, 365 in a given earth year.
Yet, while we can track time to pinpoint accuracy, what we do in that allotted time is as variable and unpredictable as we allow for it. Quite the paradox.
Recently, time has been on my mind quite a bit. Perhaps that is because of the 20 year watermark in both my marriage and company. Perhaps that is because the jet lag associated with flying back and fourth to China and the effects it has had on my body. Or, perhaps it’s just because I am getting older in time and it’s on my mind.
Nevertheless, each year, I deliver a keynote address to 300 or so employees of Kidventure to mark the beginning (in time) of a new camp season. Highly motivated teachers, education students, coaches and genuinely great people come together as we kick off the new camp season. About a week after that address, each of those team members will welcome campers at one of our 20 or so camps as counselors, directors or support staff. My purpose at this important event is to bring everyone together, to provide a collective purpose and directive for the new camp season and to inspire them to join as one to make a profound difference in the lives of the many children they will encounter this summer.
Why should this matter? It matters because time presents us with an opportunity. I have no control over when the moon rises or when the sun sets, but I do have control over what I make of that time. We can choose to waste time or make the most of time. I can be time strapped, time tested or even timeless. I can be out of time or on time. In other words, there is a lot we are because of time, but your life and mine will not be defined by time. Rather, your life, and you in fact, will be remembered by what we did with time.
Between that moon and sun, I can shape my world and those around me.
Two weeks ago, Kidventure lost one of its own to the hands of time. In years, Evie Estrada was 25. He left us at a certain hour of a day at a specific time. Evie served as a counselor and director at Kidventure, a US Marine, a teacher working towards his master’s and a position as Vice Principal. Most importantly, he was a father and a husband. Along with every other director and camps manager this Spring, Evie was training and preparing to lead his camp. In this case, that camp was Camp St. Theresa. Anyone who knew him always found him smiling, energetic and ready to play.
In his service to America, Evie fought for our freedom on distant shores. At home, he fought for children. Evie’s time was filled with so many endeavors and the kind of endeavors that made those around him great. I choose not to think of the short amount of time that Evie had on Earth, but rather to focus on what he did with that amount of given time. No doubt Evie will be missed, but more importantly, he will be remembered.
Each of our employees at Kidventure is presented with a signed document outlining an agreement between Kidventure Incorporated and said employee. Some employees might read that agreement and ascertain that they will be performing a job, for a monetary rate during a specific time. But, our employees understand that what they are really being given is not an employee agreement , but a unique opportunity. And not just any opportunity. I would contend that this opportunity has the potential to alter the lives of people around them, to provide confidence to a kid who fears the world, to give hope to those that are being abused at home, to provide courage to those that are timid and happiness to those who are depressed and sad. I would also contend that in doing so, they have the opportunity to change themselves just as powerfully.
Time is a crazy, abstract thing.
It marches on without failure and interruption. Somewhere along this vast line of time, each of us have been given a chance to experience life and ‘make our mark’. We can choose to focus on the time, however little or too much we have. Or, we can choose to focus on taking whatever time we are given and making the most of it for those around us and ourselves. We can stop worrying so much about what we can’t control and start doing what we can. To understand this is to truly understand our purpose and to live it is truly what life is all about.