Monday, March 29, 2010

Learning Leadership and Spirituality from La Vida

By Heather Trapp ’10
Since helping with installation of a floor in the main building at the Adirondack Base Camp at age 12, Matthew Loy ’06 has dedicated eight summers, his education, and his career to pursue and develop the philosophy that La Vida taught him. He discovered his love for teaching and ropes courses, and has a desire to travel internationally to spread the concepts La Vida uses to help other adventure education programs. “My concepts of leadership and spirituality were influenced by La Vida because it’s where I spent a lot of my time and energy,” says Loy. From organizing the gear shed to teaching classes during the Recreation and Leisure Studies Immersion Semester, Loy has held multiple positions through which he has gained an understanding of what it means to be a leader. “The biggest thing I have learned is servant leadership,” says Loy, “realizing that working alongside people and showing them what you would ask them to do is how I want to be led.” His experiences have shaped Loy’s passion for La Vida. Staff development has helped Loy shape his view of La Vida. “La Vida helps students grow on multiple levels in terms of pushing themselves beyond their limits; expanding their worldviews to looking outside of themselves to serving Christ and others,” says Loy. La Vida awakened his enthusiasm for teaching. After attending graduate school at Minnesota State, Mankato, Loy hopes to carry over principles of experiential learning that can be applied to staff training as well as participant facilitation.
Through La Vida Loy has been assisting multiple international organizations that provide outdoor education. His first experience was traveling to South Africa in January 2006 on a mission trip led by Dr. Val Gin, Val Buchanan and Nate Hausman, director of Adirondack Expeditions. “I’ve become interested in sharing the benefits of adventure education with people around the world because I realize the United States is saturated with outdoor programs—anyone can find a way to go to one,” says Loy. He will travel to China in April to build a ropes course and teach program leaders how to build it into their curriculum. Loy is also working with the Kids Across Africa program in Rwanda by proposing what La Vida does in America and explaining how it ties its curriculum to the Christian faith. “I do not want to export my Western ideals and values, but rather explain the concept behind what we do so they can consider how it might fit into their model of education and ministry,” says Loy.
Loy’s desire to share with others the concepts that have shaped his life is inspiring. His humble nature and hard work are indicators that he is working for God’s Kingdom, not his own, and according to director Rich Obenschain, “La Vida is very grateful for his contributions, dedication and spirit of service.”
Heather Trapp is a senior business administration major and communication arts minor who has a passion for the outdoors and La Vida. She loves the North Shore, running by the beach, and Captain Dusty’s ice cream.


Paul Trapp said...

What a fantastic article, written by a truly fantastic student, and even better person - Heather Trapp.

SHiNE said...

very cool to see one of Gordon's own out there, impacting the world!