| To whom it may concern:
One of the reasons that I came to St. Johnís in Santa Fe was in order to be on the Search and Rescue Team. I am an EMT-Intermediate and have always enjoyed volunteering. I came here with the hope that I would be able to contribute. Upon arriving on campus I was able to get a position with Mark St. John and the Outdoors Program and what I have been able to do through my work with Mark has changed the way that I experience the outdoors.
Before coming to St. Johnís I was very out of shape, and while I was familiar with the outdoors I was in no way experienced. Through the Outdoors Program this has changed dramatically.
The Search and Rescue Team is an amazing experience. I have helped save lives. I have learned skills that will help me, my loved ones and the community in which I live for the rest of my life. I have been to Avalanche Training in Colorado. I have been at 12000 feet at 3:00 in the morning. I have had mild frostbite. All in the service of someone I donít know and may never meet. It is all for the ďjust in case.Ē This has been an opportunity to serve in a way that I would otherwise be unable, and that would be tragic. Search and Rescue propelled me to get in shape, get out, to get off my butt and out of my head. Working with Mark and the Search and Rescue Team I was able to quickly learn about the team and helped with the everyday administration and training needs. This has given me so much. I have learned so much and I will always be thankful for the opportunities for growth that the Search and Rescue Team has given me.
Through the Outdoors Program I have also been training as a river guide with Mark. Now this is an entirely different experience but no less powerful than Search and Rescue. I have never been one for camping or hiking or rafting. It wasnít something that I was able to do in my home state of New Jersey. And this year has given me so much from the outdoors. I learned how to read a river and respect its power. I have been rafting down the Colorado and the San Juan. I have been on a 15-day rafting expedition through the most gorgeous country I have ever seen. I have learned that I donít have any limitations on what I want to do in the outdoors. And I have been given the gift of appreciation for a world I didnít know existed.
I truly believe that I have Mark St. John to thank for this. He has given so much through his enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, and understanding. Nobody understands Johnnies in the outdoors the way Mark does. Nobody is as patient, or as able to identify with the rigors of this institution as they conflict with our desire for extra-curricular, our desire to get out of heads for a little while. This is what Mark gives us. He gives us a safe, understanding, non-threatening opportunity to get out of heads and experience what we only read about.
Thank you for your time.