“The higher you get, the wilder you become” reads an entry in the White Cloud Peak summit log by Wild Gift founder Bob Jonas. G.A.L.A. Director, Josh Arnold, was one of five recipients of this year’s “wild gift” and has just returned back home after three weeks of leadership building in the depths of the Sawtooth Wilderness and along 100 miles of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. He returns inspired and invigorated.
Wild Gift was founded on the belief that exceptional young men and women, who believe in inclusive societies that have integrity, practice sustainable lifestyles, and are mindful of their stewardship responsibility to future generations, are needed as leaders. Wild Gift supports these “better world entrepreneurs” who work in industry, the arts, education, the environment, politics, and the professions to build sustainable communities. Their mission is to support a Wild Gift Network Leader Council to engage 50 Wild Gift leaders to work collaboratively for the stewardship of wild nature and sustainable community development. Josh Arnold is now one of those Wild Gift leaders.
Josh shares excerpts from his journal kept on the trip – “These last three weeks in the wilderness have been nothing short of transformational. From the humbling White Cloud peaks turning a delicate pink as the sun set over the Sawtooth, to the sweet taste of grouse wortle berries that speckled the trailside with dots of red, to the irresistible yet devastatingly cold water of Cirque Lake that steals your breathe and awakens your spirit, to the Pistol Creek Rapid that asks of your full attention or else, to the hot springs that compel you strip to the bone and make communion with the Idaho full moon, it has been epic.
The last few weeks have been unforgettable. I’ve made memories I will return to for a long time to come. But more than memories were made on this trip. I’ve also been given the most empowering gift a young leader could ask for – people who believe in my capacity to bring a better-world vision to fruition.
Nestled around a crackling campfire deep in the wild, we explored some of the most meaningful questions in life, notably – how can I align my personal values with my career purpose and plan? In the hustle bustle of daily life at home, these questions that get neglected, however, they are the same questions that prepare us to build a meaningful and enriching life. This was my Wild Gift.”
Josh was joined by 4 other inspirational leaders, all of whose profiles can be found on the Wild Gift website. Each participant arrived with an outline of a project they were developing to make the world a better place. Peer to peer feedback and mentoring took place around the campfire each night which was designed to prepare them for submitting a grant proposal to the Wild Gift network. Josh’s project proposal focuses on revitalizing the Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall as hub for sustainable community building. The first step being to launch a capital campaign for funding the necessary improvements that will make building code compliant. Josh will be submitting a grant application later this Fall to Wild Gift for these purposes.