If you have a quick second, I encourage all to read my message below to understand a little bit of why I decdided to not only torture myself by doing a Half Ironman, but also raise money for such an incredible organization.
My introduction to Crossroads was through somewhat of a tragedy when a friend, mentor, and hero of mine, Jim McClure, passed away at the age of 59 after battling cancer for over a decade. Jim not only was a true champion in life, but did so much for Crossroads over his 14 years of involvement. Following Jim’s service, a group of his closest family and friends (there were a lot of us) gathered at Camp Wing in Duxbury where he had spent many hours during his tenure on the Crossroads board for a true celebration of his life. We danced, drank, laughed, and cried all in celebration of Jim.
In the following months, I got to learn more about Crossroads and how their summer camps and year-round programs changed the lives of so many kids across the state. I learned from these amazing young people, where they come from, their stories, and the various ways Crossroads’ programs have allowed each of them to reach their full potential. This organization is so unique in its style yet so simple. Just look at their tagline, “Change a life. Change everything.” Crossroads empowers young people to realize their full potential and positively impact the world. They open their arms to kids who may not have felt that love and joy before in their lives and instill confidence to be successful in life. This is key.
I use this example every time I describe the organization to my friends and family and I think it paints the best picture. Every night after dinner, the summer campers clean their tables, while dancing and singing together and then they head off to their cabins to reflect on their day before going to bed. It’s simple, but it works. This routine builds confidence, creates friendships, and allows the kids to not only forget about what is happening in the outside world, but create a new life and network for them at such a critical age.
Now, when I help Crossroads Teen Leaders with career days and see them reaching young adulthood I am always floored by how impressive and articulate they are across the board. They’re all driven, smart, and way more mature than I ever was at that age. Many teens are pursuing careers in mechanical engineering, medicine, and education (just to name a few). Whether participating in camp or the teen leader programs, each young person knows what it takes to be successful and have the confidence to grasp their full potential. For those who like to look at stats, over 96% of Crossroads teens have completed high school on-time and 96% have been accepted to college—78% as first generation students. This is beyond impressive.
To summarize, when I think about my experiences at the Crossroads, and when I see the campers dancing and building their lives together - I can’t help but think about Jim. As mutual fans of Earth Wind and Fire, we had so many great memories dancing and laughing together with our friends and family, which has instilled a joy within me, as I think this routine instills in the campers.
With your help – we will keep Jim’s spirit and the spirit of Crossroads alive to help these amazing kids see how valuable they truly are. Thank you for your support.