My name is Ed Spaulding. To date, I have rescued one adult, and two children from drowning; saved one child’s life with the Heimlich maneuver, rescued a baby from an overturned vehicle, and been the first responder for many a 911 call.
As fate would have it, I didn’t perform these rescues while I was an EMT traveling in an ambulance full of equipment–all of these instances happened when I was off duty. But on or off duty, fate found me and called me to help strangers in need.
However, even when confronted by fate, we have the choice to walk the other direction. Helping people often carries risks with it, especially when we are called to help people we don’t know and the emotional stakes are low. Each of the aforementioned incidents posed a serious risk either through exposure to infection by biohazards or by potentially placing my own life in danger.
I want to be as prepared as possible to answer the call of fate in these situations, so I’ve made the choice to minimize the risk by getting trained as a lifeguard, as an EMT, as a wilderness first responder, as a psychologist, and by carrying a medical kit in my car.
This power of prevention became even more evident to me shortly after my time as an EMT, while working with adjudicated youth in a wilderness therapy program on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. While there, I learned if we could just prevent the problem before it resulted in an emergency call, we could not only save a person’s life, but we could often change the course of a person’s life in the long run, preventing this disaster and the rippling traumatic effects it would have on their family, friends, and their community.
As a part of this program, I was able to help over 500 youth–but nonetheless, as a single person, I still couldn’t make as much as a difference as I wanted to.
That’s what led me to develop an idea: to create an organization that seeks to empower and heal people through adventure therapy and education. Our environment is critical in our development as people and in what we value and learn. In a wilderness environment, we learn to value other people, the basics of life, and the parts of ourselves that create a thriving community. These values prevent many of the problems we read about every day in the paper or hear of through the news.
Northland Adventure Education and Therapy Center has become the vehicle for this idea. This 501c3 non-profit, fully-insured organization is dedicated to promoting education, research, and mental and physical health through adventure education and therapy programs. The idea has become a reality.
But we need your support! We hope to achieve many things: to expand our summer camp program to include a day-care for younger children; to build an outdoor classroom for year-round programming; to provide canine-assisted therapy; and to develop a sailing program on Lake Champlain for experiential education by recreating Samuel Champlain’s boat. We have been asked to provide group programming for veterans returning from combat, and we have been working hard to provide group programming for substance abuse prevention and treatment.
Please support us in this worthy cause! I hope you can help us help others and show the world that the kindness of strangers happens every day.