When considering an organization to give memorial donations to in honor of my dad, it was important to me to choose something that was representative of how he lived and what he loved, not how he was taken away.
My dad took trips each year to the north shore surrounding Lake Superior, to the Boundary Waters, to Grand Marais. I owe my love for the outdoors to my dad and I know it’s shaped my way of thinking. Playing outside as a kid allowed me to develop the confidence to go into unexplored territory. As a child, that territory might have been a new tree to climb, but the confidence gained by being allowed to explore is something that translated into my independence as an adult. After teaching me where I couldn’t go and what I couldn’t do, my dad showed he trusted me to play outside on my own. I was free to discover new things for myself instead of learning from stories told by someone else. I remember walking around my yard doing a lot of free thinking about anything and everything in my young life. This is something I doubt I would have had as much time to do if confined indoors.
My dad insisted on venturing up north on his own for his yearly trips. I know that these trips served the same purpose for him as playing outside served for me as a kid. They gave him time to explore and think freely, away from everyday stresses and modern normalcy. You see, you’re never too old to play outside.
Today, my brother and I met with a representative from the Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to give a donation to help preserve and protect a place dear to our dad’s heart. In talking with him, it was clear he held the same belief that we did in the ability of areas like the Boundary Waters to free your spirit. And when I visit this summer, I know my dad will be with me, giving me the confidence to explore on my own.