On May 28, 2016, my husband Steve and I had a life-changing conversation. We discussed the idea of leaving our secure, full-time jobs to embark on a new journey together. Our careers of teaching and parks and recreation had always provided stability for our family, allowing us to raise our children, pay our bills, and feel a sense of security. However, on that particular night, Steve proposed that we try something new and create something together that would combine our skills in management, logistics, planning, creating, education, and presenting.
Normally, a conversation like this would have taken days or even months to reach a decision. But at that point in my career, I was ready for change and enthusiastically said YES. We didn't have all the details figured out; we simply felt a calling towards a different path. I was so excited that I gave my 30-day notice within the week.
We reached out to a friend who worked as a consultant in the field of education to explore the possibility of becoming consultants ourselves. Additionally, we contacted the National Park Service to inquire about creating educational content for students based on filming in the parks. Both endeavors turned out to be successful. Steve and I began traveling together, generating new ideas, and being in each other's company 24/7.
After a few years in the educational corporate world, my job was unexpectedly eliminated. This was a daunting blow as it had been our main source of income at the time while we pursued our dream of creating free content for students. While I felt scared, Steve remained undeterred. He believed that our plan was only just beginning to unfold. We took a few days off to contemplate and dream together, discovering that the May 28th date in 2016 was merely the first step. The corporate world had been a temporary stop on our journey, but it was certainly not our final destination. With renewed determination, we set out to find our true purpose and passion, knowing that by aligning those two things, we would discover our mission.
We began reaching out to close friends, prayer warriors, and specific national park sites to pursue our dream. Countless late nights, vision boards, post-it notes on hotel room walls, and prayers later, Expeditions in Education was born. Our dream had transformed into reality. While it's challenging to pinpoint the exact moment when everything fell into place, it did, and we couldn't be happier. We are now doing what we genuinely believe we are called to do. Running a nonprofit that isn't financially lucrative can bring about anxiety, but we have faith that God led us to this purpose and will guide us when the time comes to move on.
So, where are we now? Through our STEAM in the PARK summer camps, we have connected over 600 educators to 17 national parks. Also, we have created content within the national parks, bringing the wonders of the national parks to more than 3.2 million students, teachers, families, and community members. We have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of park rangers and staff who share our commitment to a better world. To encourage students to learn more about the world around them, we are writing children's books using video transcriptions from our park videos. Our network of friends across the country supports and encourages us, and our social media presence is thriving. We know that our work is making a difference. As we look ahead to 2024, financial concerns occasionally loom, but Steve reassures me that doing good work is more powerful than anxiety. He takes care of the logistics, allowing me the freedom to dream and create.
If you are interested in supporting our work financially, we would love to speak with you. You can make a one-time donation or choose to support us monthly. Every contribution directly impacts our ability to make a positive difference in schools across the country. For more information, please reach out to email@example.com.