Transformational Journeys

April, 2014

By Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs

The student speakers at the April 9th Gala were truly remarkable, poised, mature and confident young people with a great sense of humor and healthy sense of self. It was so gratifying to see how they had blossomed into such impressive young adults since their involvement in Thompson Island programs six years ago. I was truly blown away by them and ultimately humbled to be part of an organization that can have such impact on the youth of Boston and beyond.

Suzanna, now 17 and a junior in Boston, shared that her experience on Thompson Island uncovered a whole new world of possibilities. She began to view learning in a broader context and, for the first time in her life, discovered learning could be touched, felt and experienced in a way that was joyful. On Thompson Island she could explore areas of herself and academic subjects in new and wonderful ways. She now truly feels empowered to learn, explore, grow and succeed…. in the real world. She feels free to be herself. Wow! I was so impressed by her speech and the young woman she has become.

For Tre, it was apparent that his experiences on Thompson Island guided him towards a path of leadership and service. His time working with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and volunteering with the Food Project in homeless shelters was inspired, according to Tre, by his transformational experiences on Thompson Island in 2007. Now 19 and entering college in the fall, Tre went on to eloquently describe that he was, in fact, transformed not changed. He differentiated between the two concepts by saying that “change, is turning someone into something you want them to be. But transformation is removing any fake wall that was built and helping us to see the world, others and ourselves for what we really are and see the potential and power we all possess!”

I am truly grateful to both Tre and Suzanna for sharing their experiences in such a thoughtful and profound way. You’d never know that they were speaking onstage under bright lights in front of 500 well-dressed adults. To say I was proud and awed is an understatement. The standing ovation given by the assembled guests says it all. They touched many, many people that night and I am so thankful that I could play a part in their “transformation” based upon my involvement with Thompson Island Outward Bound.

To read Tre and Suzanna’s full speeches, please click here: www.thompsonisland.org/about-us/news-and-current-events

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