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The saying "behind every good man is a great woman" is true - at least in my life,  and I feel fortunate to have had the support of six incredible females, along with two very special men.  In addition to the legacy of Zac McAmis, they are a definite inspiration for what is now 100,000 Kids In The Outdoors™. 

The following are three stories that I have only shared with a few people before now.

Unexpected Gift
Despite the fact that our three oldest daughters are not mine biologically, they are still my girls, as I have had the honor of helping to raise them for most of their lives, and I love them as if they were my own blood. 

My Wife has not only allowed me that gift, but she has been my biggest supporter.  100,000 Kids In The Outdoors would not exist without her.

I could not be more proud of each of them, and some of our best times have been spent enjoying the outdoors from the time the girls were little.  Whether it was calling elk in the mountains, fishing as a family, or enjoying wild game at the dinner table, our girls have been raised to appreciate the outdoors. 

Never in a million years did I realize when I first met them how much joy I would gain from being there to experience their "firsts" in the outdoors.  I will cherish it all for the rest of my life.

They have given me much more than I could hope to give them.  They have taught me how to be a real man, and they inspired me to want to help give them everything I am, including the gift of the outdoors.  Have I made tons of mistakes with them?  Of course!  But hopefully helping them find the outdoors is something that I did absolutely right!

Is it safe to say that our slogan "For kids that don't have someone to take them" was inspired from our three oldest girls?  ABSOLUTELY!  How cool is that?

Because of the positive impact being involved in the outdoors has made on them, I have made sure that our youngest daughter is having the same opportunity that her older sisters have had. 

kids in the outdoors mom My Mom's last wish for me becomes a reality!

She was very sick most of my life, but she still remains THE strongest person I have ever known - mentally, emotionally and physically.  She wasn't supposed to live as long as she did according to the doctors.  However, I no longer focus on how she died, but rather on how she lived!  She was courageous, a visionary,  and her over-the-top positive attitude was infectious. 
The legacy she built is one that I work hard to live up to.  She always gave of herself unconditionally, and served others without hesitation.  Along with my Dad, she taught me how to be a servant to others.  What a gift!

We shared a wonderful friendship, and we would sit and talk for hours about anything and everything.  I had the wonderful honor of helping to take care of her in the last year of her life, and during that time we had many candid conversations about life and death.  Watching someone that I loved with passion go through what my Mom went through towards the end devastated me.  I felt so helpless.  As odd as it may seem to some, I will always consider it an honor to have held her hand as she went to Heaven.  It was the very least I could do for a woman who gave me more than I could ever convey in words!

Despite her pain and knowing the time was very near, my Mom tried very hard to not only encourage me, but to inspire me as well.  She gave to me right up until the end.  However, her gift did not end with her physical death.  It is growing every day!

I could go on and on about my Mom.  In fact, I literally wrote a tribute to her that took up two pages in the newspaper, and they printed it.  However, I will get straight to the point as to why she is part of the inspiration behind our cause.

A week before she died, I asked my Mom what I could do to carry on her legacy.   She thought long and hard about it, and then told me that she would like some Foundation started that helps kids.  My Mom was passionate about helping kids, and I think if she could have, she would have adopted hundreds of them!

It took me a very long time to deal with her death, and I will be honest in stating that her final wish did not occur to me when the idea behind 100,000 Kids In The Outdoors™ came to me during Christmas 2010.  However, as I was recently reminicing about Mom, her wish hit me like "a ton of bricks". 

I have no way of knowing what your belief system is, but I know mine.  I have no doubt that my Mom had a hand in the inspiration of our cause without me realizing it at the time.  Even from Heaven, 'ol Mom is still doing what she always did - helping to inspire me. 
They Made An Investment

Last, but certainly not least.  It is not possible for me to thank Sam and Bart Colburn enough.  I grew up in a family that hunted and fished.  However, my Dad had to work two jobs most of my life, and the rest of the family did not include me much in the outdoors. 
sam and bart png 
Most of my outdoor experiences growing up were on my own or with friends.  At the age of seventeen I met my best friend, Bart.  He and his Dad always included me on their outdoor adventures, and took the time to teach me.  They created the concept for me of taking a kid who doesn't have someone to take them outdoors twenty six years ago!

I hope that I am doing right by their gift of the outdoor heritage today!

Indeed, the credit behind what we do through our cause goes to God, my Mom, our 4 daughters, Sam and Bart Colburn, Zac McAmis, and the countless adults who help kids through the outdoors - period!  I am very blessed to be a small part of it. 
Thanks for allowing me to share and serve! 

100,000 Kids In The Outdoors

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::  Zac's Story

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